Oathkeepers were willing to use “any means.”

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Oath Keepers extremists stood ready to use “any means necessary” to stop confirmation of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6, 2021, a member of the group testified Tuesday.

Jason Dolan’s testimony came at the trial of Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right militia group, and four associates, who were charged with seditious conspiracy and other charges.

Dolan, who has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to attack the US Capitol, is the first Oath Keepers member to take a stand under a cooperative agreement with prosecutors as he seeks a lighter sentence in his own criminal case.

Federal agents, he testified Tuesday, showed jurors the pistol and semi-automatic rifle that Dolan had brought with him to the Washington area. He said he and others are ready to take up arms if necessary to keep Republican President Donald Trump in office.

“It seemed to me that a lot of us were willing — I was willing — to stop the certification process in one way or another,” Dolan said. When asked by the prosecutor how they would achieve that goal, Dolan replied, “By any means necessary. That’s why we brought our firearms.”

Dolan is the first of several Oath Keepers with government cooperation deals expected to testify in the seditious conspiracy trial against Rhodes and his allies.

They are the first of hundreds of people arrested in connection with the Capitol riots and standing trial on seditious conspiracy charges, a rare Civil War-era charge that carries up to 20 years in prison. The stakes are high for the Justice Department, which last obtained such a conviction from a court nearly 30 years ago.

Dolan’s testimony may undermine Rhodes’ argument that he was acting in anticipation of orders he expected from Trump — orders that never came.

Rhodes’ lawyers have said he will take a stand to argue he believed Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act and call in a militia to put down what he saw as a coup d’état. While Trump never did, Rhodes’ attorneys say his actions should not be viewed as sedition but as lobbying for a president to enforce a law. The group ultimately did not use the massive stash of weapons — dubbed the “rapid reaction force” and stored in a hotel room in nearby Virginia — which included guns brought by Dolan and others.

Dolan said he believes that if Trump had invoked the Insurrection Act, which gives the president broad discretion to decide when military force is required, there would have been “factions of the federal government fighting other factions of the federal government.” But Dolan told jurors the Oath Keepers are ready to act no matter what Trump does.

“If the President didn’t act, we would have to act,” he said.

Dolan, a 46-year-old former Marine from Wellington, Fla., pleaded guilty last year to charges of conspiracy and one charge of obstructing an official process. The judge said at the time that federal criminal guidelines provide for a sentence of more than five to six and a half years, although prosecutors may ask for less time in exchange for his cooperation.

Dolan testified that he joined the Oath Keepers in 2020 after quitting his job at a hotel to recover from surgery that failed to fix the lingering hip problems of his military service. When he joined, he told the court he tried to numb the pain with alcohol and spent hours a day in his garage scrolling through his phone watching videos about the 2020 election and growing more angry and convinced of Trump’s false claims to become widespread voter fraud.

Rhodes’ attorneys have suggested that they will attempt to frame the Oath Keeper’s cooperating witnesses as liars who freaked out under pressure from the Justice Department. Three Oath Keepers who have pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy could also take the stand to testify against Rhodes, including a man who said Rhodes instructed the Oath Keepers to be ready, if necessary, to use deadly force to injure to keep Trump in the White House.

Dolan described how the mood of the Capitol crowd went from happy to angry when it became clear that Vice President Mike Pence would not stop the certification. As the Oath Keepers neared the steps of the Capitol, people began calling for them and parted them as they stormed the building with hundreds of rioters, Dolan said.

At the time, it was gratifying to be recognized, Dolan said. Looking back, he said he felt very different and wanted to take responsibility for what he had done. “I think I was pretty naive and downright stupid about some of the decisions I made,” he said.

Standing in court with Rhodes of Granbury, Texas are Kelly Meggs, head of the Florida section of the Oath Keepers; Kenneth Harrelson, another Florida Oath keeper; Thomas Caldwell, a retired US Navy intelligence officer from Virginia; and Jessica Watkins, who led a militia group in Ohio. They also face several other charges.

https://wgntv.com/news/national/testimony-oath-keepers-ready-to-use-any-means-necessary/ Oathkeepers were willing to use “any means.”

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