How Did the Proud Boys Have Better Lines of Communication about National Guard Reinforcements than the National Guard Did?

At 3:38 on January 6, according to the Proud Boy leaders conspiracy indictment, Charles Donohoe announced on the 60-member operational Telegram channel the Proud Boys used that day that, “we are regrouping.”

Sometime around that time, a bunch of Oath Keepers, having already entered the Capitol, were gathered together on the east side of the Capitol.

According to the most recent Oath Keepers indictment, two minutes after Donohoe announced the Proud Boy plan to regroup, at 3:40, Oath Keeper Joshua James called Person Ten — who was doing much of the coordination for the Oath Keepers that day — and had a 3 minute, 4 second phone call, their second longest call described in the indictment.

Roberto Minuta and Rhodes exchanged two calls just after 4:00 — 42 seconds, then 2 minutes 56 seconds. At 4:10, according to a Thomas Caldwell detention motion, someone on the Oath Keepers’ operational channel said, “Fight the good fight. Stand your ground.”

It seems the militias were preparing for a second, seemingly coordinated, operation of the day: resuming the assault on the Capitol.

Indeed, some of the fighting and attempted breaches at the Capitol did intensify about that time (for example, that’s shortly before, as some cops were trying to help Rosanne Boyland, who had been trampled, they were allegedly assaulted by James Lopatic, Jeffrey Sabol, Peter Stager, and Wade Whitten, with police officer BW being dragged down the steps prone and beaten).

But not the militias, at least not the Proud Boys.

According to the government’s detention memo for Donohoe, he subsequently — they don’t provide the time — sent out a message that the National Guard and DHS agents were incoming.

Donohoe’s intent to create mayhem and disrupt the proceedings at the Capitol continued well after the initial breach into the restricted grounds and up to the west terrace. Indeed, at 3:38 p.m., more than an hour after Pezzola and others had broken into the building, Donohoe indicated that he had left the Capitol grounds, but then announced over Telegram, “We are regrouping with a second force.” That plan appears to have been short-lived, as Donohoe subsequently advised the group that the National Guard and “DHS agents” were “incoming.”

This is fairly remarkable timing, as it came during the most inexplicable period of DOD’s delayed response with the National Guard. At 2:30, just before the second breach by militia-led groups, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller met with (among others) Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy about requests for help from the city and the Capitol Police. At 3, Miller determines the Guard is needed at the Capitol and McCarthy orders them to prepare to move. At 3:04, Miller provides verbal approval for the Guard to support MPD. At 3:19 and 3:26, McCarthy was on the phone with first Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and then Bowser, assuring them the Guard was on the way. At 3:48, McCarthy leaves to go to MPD headquarters, taking 22 minutes to transit, even as two trained militia groups full of military veterans prepared to make a second assault on the Capitol. At 4:32, after calls back and forth among the militia, Miller provided verbal authorization for the Guard to help the Capitol Police.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

But then, according to the guy DOD sent to the Senate to not answer questions like this, Robert Salesses, General William Walker, the guy in charge of the Guard, didn’t get that order for another 36 minutes.

Salesses: In fairness to General Walker too, that’s when the Secretary of Defense made the decision, at 4:32. As General Walker has pointed out, cause I’ve seen all the timelines, he was not told that til 5:08.

Roy Blunt: How is that possible, Mr. Salazar [sic], do you think that the decision, in the moment we were in, was made at 4:32 and the person that had to be told wasn’t told for more than a half an hour after the decision.

Salesses: Senator, I think that’s an issue.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

Somehow, it seems, Proud Boy Charles Donohoe knew that the National Guard was coming to reinforce the Capitol before DC Guard Commander General Walker.

Somehow, it seems, the militias assaulting the Capitol had better lines of communication than the US Department of Defense.


2:30PM: Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy meet to discuss the requests for assistance from the MPD and CPD.

2:40PM: Oath Keepers and Proud Boys breach second front of the Capitol.

3PM: Miller determines the Guard is needed.

3:04PM: Miller authorizes Guard assistance to MPD.

3:19PM: McCarthy on the phone with Democratic leaders. Roberto Minuta enters Capitol.

3:26PM: McCarthy on the phone with Mayor Bowser.

3:38PM: Charles Donohoe announces, “we are regrouping.”

3:40PM: James calls Person Ten, speaks for 3:04.

3:48PM: McCarthy leaves for MPD.

4PM: Meeting with Stewart Rhodes on east side of Capitol.

4:04PM: Minuta calls Rhodes, speaks for 42 seconds.

4:05PM: Rhodes calls Minuta, speaks for 2:56.

4:10PM: McCarthy arrives at MPD. Proud Boy leader channel instructs, “Stand your ground.”

4:32PM: Miller provides the verbal order for the Guard to reinforce the Capitol Police

5:08PM: General Walker gets the order to reinforce the Capitol Police

Unknown time: Donohoe advises that National Guard and “DHS” are incoming.

72 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Ah, the eternal question of the Trump administration: idiots or co-conspirators?

    (Or, of course, both.)

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Idiotic co-conspirators following their dementia-addled, malignantly narcissistic leader.

    • Marshall says:

      It could also have come from a member (cough Boebert cough) via McCarthy’s call to Pelosi.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    The plausible explanation for why the PBs knew first is that there was at least one of their moles in the decision process. For example, where was Charlie Flynn at that time? Not to pick on him too much, but the linkage to Mikey needs to be addressed publicly sooner than later if for no other reason than to clear Charles Flynn’s name. However, in fairness, the DJT White House was chock full of sympathizers to what was going on, from the top down so the role of the mole could be elsewhere and hard to find.

    Let’s remember how much the DJT WH used non-official communications and were generally lax about ensuring the communications were archived in compliance to the Presidential Records Act, etc. even if these were considered to be classified. I have no doubt that something like this insurrection was done off the communications grid. So, to find this web the Feds will need to look at the unofficial net as well. Hopefully, it is still accessible after the DJT WH and the non-government minions had two weeks to scrub their devices.

    • oaflet says:

      DJT mole.
      Him Smart – got phone in shoe.
      Spare in the keister.

      Wired for sound, that boy and that place.
      3 years and 11 months later, the mics installed by the Russian (and ONLY) cameraman for the Kislyak/Lavrov/Trump lovefest, when the American stooge left but they stayed, unsupervised, are still working fine.

      владимир владимирович does not like being uninformed.

    • DrFunguy says:

      Seems to me the simplest explanation is a National Guard with PB/OK/3P affiliation or sympathies calling one of the leaders to say: ‘we’re rolling’.

      • Rugger9 says:

        That would occur after General Walker was given his order at 5:08 and cascaded it through the chain of command, but this heads-up occurred before then. But your point about the sympathies is correct, and by the end of the term, DJT and his minions had collected quite a few of these sympathizers (let’s remember the USCP selfies as an example) and sidelined the ones who weren’t on board. That makes it harder to figure out whodunnit.

      • J R in WV says:

        Most simple answer:

        The Former Guy was CiC, and his minions would know as soon as anyone else when TFG’s National Guard was going in. His minions include all those organizers of the insurrection, including General Charles Flynn and the civilian leaders of the rebellion.

  3. subtropolis says:

    It appears to be remarkable timing, though the detention memo does not spell it out, unfortunately. The specific time, that is. This is a great catch, and one more thing to keep an eye on as more evidence becomes public.

    • emptywheel says:

      Generally the things prosecutors don’t tell you are more interesting than the things they do.

      BOTH of these conspiracies have giant question marks for what happened at 4, and most of the Oath Keeper filings have pointed to that crowd as if it were a gun Chekov put there.

      • Peterr says:

        They are not giant question marks to everyone.

        To any as-yet unindicted people involved in this conspiracy, either the prosecutors don’t know what happened at 4, or they do know and they are biding their time to follow the trail and sweep a bunch of folks up. If it’s the former, then the last thing these unindicted folks want to do is call attention to themselves. If it’s the latter, then it may be too late for them, and they ought to be quietly looking for a place to hide – quickly.

        Those prosecutorial silences have to be deafening to the unindicted.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Somebody in the chain of command had an underdeveloped sense of urgency – or democracy. Or they were actively fighting the task of restoring order at the Capitol on the day Congress was to perform an essential constitutional function regarding the peaceful succession of one administration for another. One can only hope that culling the rotten apples spoiling democracy’s barrel include some of the people running the orchard.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A 36-minute gap in communicating a warning or command decision to field commanders? Imagine what commanders at Pearl Harbor might have done with an extra 36 minutes to prepare and mount a defense. As gaps go – Rosemary Woods infamous 18.5-minute gap in the Nixon tapes, for example – this one deserves thorough investigation. Thanks, Marcy.

      • arbusto says:

        I’m courious what overaching signals intellegince net exists in and around DC such that it sucks in many communications/video for file, allowing The Powers That Be to issue subequent subpeonas and arrest warrents

      • subtropolis says:

        Pearl Harbor is an unfortunate example. A couple of privates manning radar equipment did, in fact, warn of an incoming swarm of aircraft that morning, just shy of an hour before the attack. But it was disregarded as noise; inexperience; or an expected flight of B-17s. See “Opana Radar Site”.

    • BobCon says:

      I can’t help but think back to the article EW discussed a while back:

      It describes a decison making process that seemed to run all the way up to the Secretary of Defense and back down again, which is nuts — it would be like if a mob was climbing the fences at the White House and the Secret Service was forced to go all the way up to the Secretary of Homeland Security to get approval to contact the DC PD for help and wait until the process was complete before continuing.

      Miller denied having to go to Trump for authorization, but at least one witness insists he was part of the loop, which makes it even worse. The system that day was built to stall action, not authorize it.

      • J R in WV says:

        This. System built for the benefit of Trump’s rebellion.

        We were so lucky that day that things didn’t go much worse than they did.

        Weren’t a bunch of DoD, DHS, etc management level staff replaced between the actual election results were known and the certification date? Why was that, exactly? None of those people could have believed those new appointments would last for more than 60-90 days!

        Perhaps The Former Guy actually never intended a transition, just an insurrection!

      • skua says:

        Would such a structure be;
        prioritise DJT’s desires over national security,
        have DJT feeling powerful,
        be unworkable in many foreseeable instances,
        allow for corrupt and venal dealings,
        have incompetent people in essential roles, and,
        be suitable for use in an ill defined, hare brained scheme that DJT felt positive about?

        If yes then it continues 45’s general approach.

  5. madwand says:

    Just a guess but I’m thinking that unknown time for Donohoe was between his 3:38 and Trumps 4:17 announcement and more likely after the 4pm meeting by Rhodes. The delay till 5:08 is easily inferred as the time needed for the leaders to “get hat” and boogie and the delay was managed by a “commander” with ties to DOD, possibly through Flynn, Patel, Watney, or Tata, just another guess there, but why would those guys have been installed there in the first place? We’ve postulated it could be Stone, Flynn, or perhaps someone at DOD dealing directly with cutouts, so it will be difficult to out them.

    • skua says:

      I’m wondering how much frantic counter-intelligence work is being done in the American military since 20 Jan.
      Would seem much better if there has been a whole lot.
      Does Congress ever get to ask such questions?

  6. CD54 says:

    I think they had a year to practice.

    Speaking of things not mentioned: the supposed armed QRF “One step over the line” from District gun laws. If they get that things will get extremely serious.

    • gulageten says:

      Yeah that’s one of more glaring loose ends, along with the pipe bomber. But I also think of also the Jim Acosta tweet about an overnight barricade, reports of a water shutdown scheme, etc. There is so much not yet encircled by the public understanding. Regardless I think the planners did not account for the downsides of tourist / rabble / normie participation.

      • bmaz says:

        That’s funny, because they seemed to have not only planned on it, but have actively drummed it up.

        • gulageten says:

          I realize that. What I meant was that the rabble may have been less of an asset the hours went by. But we don’t know.

          • subtropolis says:

            I’d say that it went pretty darned well for them. The incitement of the “normies”, that is. It seems to me that the wind went out of the militia sails about when it became clear that all of the legislators had left.

            I suspect that they might have then debated whether to occupy the Capitol, nonetheless (that huddle with Rhodes outside) but abandoned that plan because there were already too many cops — and too few of the mob — inside, with National Guard on the way.

          • Rugger9 says:

            I would agree that the incitement was the reason, under the theory that the mob could then be controlled to achieve the goals set out by PBs, etc,, et al. However, history frequently says that once the mobs are set off they take a life of their own, kind of like wildfires.

            The facts that the insurrection didn’t work but was destructive and murderous anyhow would be the reason the PBs/OKs/3Ps/DJT WH/GOP is trying to cover their tracks now.

  7. subtropolis says:

    OT but readers might find this of interest. It seems that Roger Stone is upset with someone who used to be an ally, former NY cop and Newsmax “talent” John Cardillo. Ignore the nasty venom about Cardillo cheating on his wife. Something much more is at issue here. I’m wondering whether it has to do with Internal Affairs (and the FBI?) investigating current NYPD and Stone pal Sal Greco. Perhaps people in his orbit had got wind that Cardillo is cooperating. (Regarding that, or something else.)

    • Rugger9 says:

      I saw that. It’s a very small issue in the midst of all of the other stuff, but it could be a sign of GOP/PB/3P/OK fracturing or it could just be more Stone gaslighting by dangling a shiny object.

      I’m not sure what real consequences this spat would have in comparison to what the Feebs are up to here.

  8. harpie says:

    Some possibly relevant information from Christiaan Triebert:
    7:42 PM · Feb 3, 2021

    Stewart Rhodes was on the Capitol’s northeast steps [with others] between 3:35-3:41 p.m. […] [photos]
    6:41 PM · Jan 29, 2021

    At 3:48 p.m., as police are finally clearing the Capitol’s east entrance, the 10 Oath Keepers we tracked gather around with Stewart Rhodes, the group’s founder, alongside many more apparent militia members. They’d be there for about 30 minutes [ie: UNTIL approx: 4:18 PM[photo]

    [This was further away. I think they’re saying 70-100feet?] […]

    […] The alleged conspirators Watkins and Crowl are standing just a few hundred meters away, [from the Rhodes crew?] seemingly watching incoming National Guards, we know from a Parler video. […]

  9. Savage Librarian says:

    And at 2:38 pm, after allegedly being threatened with legal exposure, President Trump tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

    The other McCarthy (Kevin) was on the phone with Trump sometime shortly before that tweet (as far as I can tell) pleading for him to call off the attack, which he refused to do. I’m assuming that it is coincidental that Ryan and Kevin both have the surname McCarthy.

    • Joseph Andrews says:

      Thank you for this link.

      I’ve been waiting…for this sort of thing and more like it: it is thisclose. Those who post here regularly no doubt feel the same.

      What is so tantalizing is here is Roger Stone’s role, right?

      In anticipation of another post right here on emptywheel, I need to review!

  10. harpie says:

    Karen Piper found Mike FLYNN and JR FLYNN
    in Parler videos at the RALLY [via Laura Rozen]:
    11:43 PM · Apr 5, 2021

    I found Michael Flynn on Jan 6th. He’s not where Patrick Byrne said he was in his book. Byrne claimed Flynn came and left with him, early, after complaining about how terrible the rally. Byrne says they went straight to their hotel. THREAD

    Nor is Flynn where Roger Stone said he was, which is wandering around in a red shirt with an entourage. (Stone said his friend Officer Sal Greco briefly left their room at the Willard Hotel and met Mike Flynn.) […]

    Oh my, maybe the Easter Bunny DOES exist.

    • harpie says:

      […] From other footage, you can tell that, next to blond woman, is (most likely) Jack Flynn and then Mike Flynn Jr. Junior is in camo and frequently moves between Mike Flynn and Byrne. (Circled here.)

      Here’s an image with his hat on, seated with the Flynn family. (Byrne never talks to Flynn Sr. but A LOT to Flynn Jr., sometimes with Alex Jones included.) […]

      Piper comment on the interesting head/face gear JUNIOR sometimes wears.

    • subtropolis says:

      What’s the significance of these pics? Lots of people were at the rally, including Flynn.

      • harpie says:

        I’m not sure, to be honest. I think he was pretty deeply involved in all this and would like to know how.

      • Leoghann says:

        It proves that his original alibi (from Byrne) is not true. And it proves that Stone’s statement is bullshit. But both of those are known liars–completely unreliable witnesses. So it’s still up in the air where Flynn was during, and right before, the storming.

    • harpie says:

      1] Part of the reason this caught my attention is this 12/18/20 meeting at the WH with some of the same people:

      Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency 2/2/21

      Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 […] Sidney [Powell] […] former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former CEO Patrick Byrne, and a little-known former Trump administration official, Emily Newman. But they’d come to convince Trump that he had the power to take extreme measures to keep fighting. […]

      2] And, I didn’t know anything about Piper’s “Stone said his friend Officer Sal Greco briefly left their room at the Willard Hotel and met Mike Flynn”, but we’ve been following the GRECO/Stone/Willard Hotel-scene. The latest is here:

      3] Also, I seem to recall close ties between Flynn, Jr. and Trump, Jr. but don’t have time at the moment to find anything about that.

      • harpie says:

        Greco is a CURRENT NYC cop with connections.
        He has at least met Bernie Kerick, and knows Rudy.

  11. Savage Librarian says:

    Person 10…Black man named Mike (aka Whip). And Person 3 or 4…Paul…

    Yep, that’s the case made in the article below. If I can find another confirmation from another resource, I’ll add it later. But until then, this is all I’ve got:

    “‘Bloody civil war’: Inside the heavily armed contingency force hovering over the Oath Keepers Jan. 6 prosecution” – Joshua Green, 4/5/22

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mitch McConnell on coporate First Amendment rights: He treats capital like a pack of fox hounds. He expects undying loyalty for a few scraps of food and a little weekly excitement during hunting season. But his dogs must heel when commanded and stay firmly in their kennel until he whimsically decides to assemble his riders, pour the brandy, and blow his horn. Otherwise, capital should STFU.

    The average CEO – who determines the budget for political lobbying and has an ego the size of his or her pay packet – may not take kindly to being bullied by someone more arrogant and entitled than they are.

    • skua says:

      McConnell trying to bully civil society into silence, while his fellow Trump supporters, the armed insurrectionists, appear to have spies in the military, bodes well for Trumpist failure in 2024.

    • harpie says:

      Some info on Latinos for Trump in this article.
      [See also conversation about RHODES interview, above, where he mentions the group.]

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