The Disappearing Willard Hotel and the Accused Seditionists’ Other Interlocutors

Just as sedition bears down on Roger Stone, the government has put a curtain over what they know about his role in it. The government has moved on from Stone, it seems, to other interesting Oath Keeper interlocutors.

Way back in May, I noted how judicious DOJ was being with statements from Stewart Rhodes — referred to officially as Person One back in his halcyon pre-sedition charge days — in the charging documents for Oath Keepers. Within a few days that month, DOJ added to its insurrection narrative a December 14, 2020 Rhodes post calling for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act via James Breheny’s charging documents. The iteration of the Oath Keeper conspiracy released at the same time (the fourth) introduced Rhodes’ November 9 GoToMeeting discussion of the Insurrection Act that continues to appear in the indictments.

For eight months, in other words, DOJ has been engaged in a slow-reveal of its case against Rhodes.

Now, in the sedition indictment bearing Rhodes’ name, we get a whole lot more of what Rhodes was saying:

  • Calls for civil war as soon as a it became clear Biden should win
  • Rhodes’ adoption of a Serbian (!!!) model for his civil war
  • An oblique comment — dated to “around this time” of the Inauguration — about Rhodes messaging others to organize local militias to oppose Biden’s Administration

Most of the new comments aren’t as scintillating as the catalog describing the personal arsenal Rhodes was purchasing, though, and a few of the new Rhodes comments included were public before.

There are three comments about Rhodes’ communications, though, that I find intriguing because they seem to hint at other interlocutors with the accused seditionists that we may not know about yet.

The first doesn’t even involve Rhodes directly. Rather, it relays Roberto Minuta describing to someone else that 1) Minuta had spoken directly with Rhodes the night of December 18 and 2) Minuta was sharing with someone apparently outside the Oath Keepers how Rhodes felt.

28. Also on December 19, 2020, MINUTA messaged another individual, “Oath Keepers president is pretty disheartened. He feels like it’s go time, the time for peaceful protest is over in his eyes. I was talking to him last night.”

This wasn’t in the prior indictment and I don’t recall it appearing in any other filings in the case (Minuta was not detained, so there’s less about him in the public record). Unless this was originally on the Facebook account Minuta allegedly deleted, there doesn’t seem to be any reason DOJ wouldn’t have obtained this message when they exploited Minuta’s phone. If they’ve had it for months, then the simplest explanation for its inclusion is that this indictment is all about Rhodes, and the comment captures Rhodes’ commitment to violence. In addition, this comment exhibits a closeness between Minuta and Rhodes (which we’ve seen in earlier charging documents) that may be useful from an evidentiary standpoint.

But I suspect it serves an additional purpose. Minuta wrote it not long after the December MAGA March in DC. While there, he had been hanging out with Proud Boys, including Dominic Pezzola (who like Minuta is from upstate New York). It comes after Mike Flynn’s call for insurrection. After Trump tweeted out a promise for Wild Protests on December 19, a ton of aspiring insurrectionists, both organized and not, started making plans to come to DC. In short, this was a key time in the lead-up to the operation, and Minuta was surprisingly well-connected (for a tattoo artist!!!) within the movement. So I suspect his interlocutor here is of some interest (and it’s even possible the government obtained the text from that interlocutor, not Minuta).

An exchange that Kelly Meggs had with Rhodes on Christmas 2020 is similar.

34. On December 25, 2020, MEGGS messaged the OKFL Hangout Chat, in reference to the Joint Session, “We need to make those senators very uncomfortable with all of us being a few hundred feet away.” RHODES then wrote, “I think Congress will screw him [President Trump] over. The only chance we/he has is if we scare the shit out of them and convince them it will be torches and pitchforks time is they don’t do the right thing. But I don’t think they will listen.”

As we recently saw in Proud Boy Matthew Greene’s statement of offense, using proximity to pressure members of Congress (and Pence), became well formulated enough that even a low-level Proud Boy would understand it by the day of the insurrection. Here, both Meggs (who is the Florida-based Oath Keeper who boasted of forging an alliance with the Proud Boys) and Rhodes enunciate this goal, but do so twelve days before the actual attack. As with the Minuta comment, my guess is that the his exchange reflects communication with (at a minimum) the Proud Boys about this shared goal of — in Rhodes’ formulation — terrorizing Congress. It certainly makes it clear that the intent of mobbing the Capitol was formulated well in advance of the event.

There’s one more example. For some reason, DOJ provides the exact time (without time zone) that Rhodes wrote, “There is no standard political or legal way out of this” on December 31, 2020.

40. RHODES and his co-conspirators used the Leadership Intel Chat and other Signal group chats to plan for January 6, 2021. On December 31, 2020, at approximately 10:08 p.m., RHODES wrote to the Leadership Intel Chat, “There is no standard political or legal way out of this.”

For the purposes of the indictment, this shows mens rea that the Yale Law grad leading this insurrection recognized what they were going to do next was not legal. But it also seems to reflect a response (thus the timing) to something — one I haven’t been able to guess yet. The comment comes before Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit against Mike Pence, the last of a long series of ridiculous “legal” efforts, failed spectacularly. But it comes at around the same time that even Sean Hannity was beginning to give up.

For example, on December 31, 2020, you texted Mr. Meadows the following:

“We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6 th. [sic] He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”

I’m not saying that Rhodes was in contact with Hannity: But something seems to have happened just before 10:08 PM (in whatever time zone) that elicited this response which is not dissimilar from where Hannity’s brain was at the time. And if it was non-public (as Hannity’s panic was), then it suggests Rhodes may have been responding to a well-connected interlocutor.

So it’s not so much that the sedition indictment quotes Rhodes as saying really interesting things. Rather, it seems to suggest he and others were saying things to some interesting interlocutors.

Even as the government is hinting at other interesting interlocutors of the accused seditionists, as I noted above, DOJ has entirely hidden the prior back-and-forth between the Oath Keepers and the Willard Hotel. This back-and-forth involving people who were guarding Roger Stone at the Willard that morning first started to show in the Third Superseding Indictment. Once Jonathan Walden — the guy now charged by himself — got added, the indictments included this exchange:

At 9:36 a.m., WALDEN texted JAMES, “Willard hotel?” At 9:51 a.m., WALDEN placed a phone call to JAMES, which is recorded as missed. At 9:52 a.m., WALDEN texted JAMES, “I’m here, awaiting instruction.” At 10:37 a.m., JAMES placed a phone call to WALDEN, which lasted 2 seconds.

Then last month, Kenneth Harrelson released Mike Simmons’ [Person Ten] 302s (purportedly in a desperate bid to adopt his lies, but possibly also to let others know what FBI had been investigation in May).

They revealed that Joshua James, who was in charge of the security detail at the Willard, called in several times to Simmons and seems to have cited Stone’s gripe about being treated poorly to Simmons.

This is what I was referring to in this post about the effect of disappearing Mark Grods, the one overt cooperator who was at the Willard that morning, from all last week’s indictments. Several decisions made in the structure of these most recent indictments — spinning Walden off by himself, disappearing Grods, focusing on the activities of two stacks in the sedition indictment (and thereby starting the narrative at a later point in time), remaining coy about the present status of Simmons, and eliminating James and Minuta in the Crowl indictment — had the effect of eliminating the coordination with the Willard from the sedition indictment altogether.

Poof! Where’s Roger?

Trust me. I don’t think DOJ has decided that the Oath Keepers’ presence at the Willard was unimportant. On the contrary. I think they’ve just decided to move onto making other people sweat about their communications with now-charged seditionists appearing in the indictment, while hiding how much more they’ve learned about the Willard in recent weeks.

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111 replies
  1. WilliamOckham says:

    This phenomenon needs a name. I suggest “Reverse Chekhov”. If the government mentions something in Act I (i.e. an early indictment) and that thing isn’t mentioned in Act II (a later or superseding indictment), then it has to go off in Act III (an even later indictment).

      • harpie says:

        Oh, whew! I thought that might be what you were getting at.
        It’s nice to kind of understand things, once in a while.
        You’ve really been keeping us hopping, lately! :-)

        • harpie says:

          Yes. https://www.thetrumparchive.com/
          TRUMP ReTweets a “report” written by NAVARRO alleging that they had discovered election fraud ‘more than sufficient’ to swing the victory to TRUMP.
          TRUMP then adds:

          A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election.

          Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!

        • P J Evans says:

          Navarro’s “report”, and some of the “evidence” in the many lawsuits trying to toss the election, remind me of this line:
          “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

    • harpie says:

      MARCY: There are three comments about Rhodes’ communications, though, that I find intriguing because they seem to hint at other interlocutors with the accused seditionists that we may not know about yet.

      I’m wondering if we’ll soon be seeing something about FLYNN + ORG, First Amendment Praetorian [1AP], Ivan RAIKLIN, Phil WALDRON. Maybe the 12/19/20 MINUTA conversation referenced by Marcy, above, was with one of these people…letting them know that RHODES was also interested in more extreme actions.

      I’m looking forward to finding out a bit about what was found on SORELLE’s phone.

      • harpie says:

        12/7/20 FLYNN ORG’s Ivan RAIKLIN discusses their plan to overturn the election
        https://twitter.com/visionsurreal/status/1426367576351850501 10:18 PM · Aug 13, 2021

        And, speaking of hybrid warfare, remember when Raiklin said Trump had 4 paths to victory?

        Well, Raiklin said on 12/7 there was actually a 5th path after 1/6 but “I don’t want to talk about that one,” to which Rucker replied “we’ll deal with the worst case scenario later.” /14 [VIDEO]

        12/7/20 https://twitter.com/bradheath/status/1336027651623055360
        2:19 PM · Dec 7, 2020

        Sidney Powell & Co. are trying to introduce testimony of an anonymous “expert” in their Arizona Kraken case. That’s so not even close to a thing.

        That person’s name [“SPIDER”] is Josh MERRITT, accidently revealed in a court filing by POWELL.

      • harpie says:

        12/9/20 West Virginia becomes the final state to certify its presidential election results.
        12/9/20 https://twitter.com/visionsurreal/status/1416538060494360581
        7:19 PM · Jul 17, 2021

        No surprise to me as, in a 1AP video dated 12/9/20, [Robert Patrick] Lewis said “our intel team has been processing a lot of OSINT” for “the Sidney Powell legal team” and “[w]e’ve been helping them kind of collate it, bring them to the right place, and sort it, and also do a lot of digging.” /14

        12/10/20 OATH KEEPERS issues a call to action for 12/12 MAGA March in DC.
        12/11/20

        [WaPo] On Friday afternoon, as his name increasingly circulated on social media, [Powell’s secret witness] [Joshua] Merritt [Spider/Spyder] said he had decided to remove himself from the legal effort altogether. He said he plans to close his business and relocate with his family.

        Asked about Merritt’s limited experience in military intelligence, Powell said in a text to The Post: “I cannot confirm that Joshua Merritt is even Spider. Strongly encourage you not to print.” […]

        Merritt told The Post that, because judges are dismissing the cases without giving the Powell team a chance to fully present evidence, “we’re just going to supply the evidence through other directions,” including to lawmakers and members of the intelligence community. He said Russell Ramsland, a former colleague and fellow witness for Powell, had asked him to brief Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) […]

      • harpie says:

        12/12/20 MILLION MAGA MARCH

        RHODES gives “a speech to the crowd, calling on President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to remain in power, threatening that if he did not do so, the Oath Keepers would be forced to engage in a “‘much more desperate [and] much more bloody war’ to ensure that outcome.”

        12/12/20 [Evening] OATH KEEPER MINUTA is photographed with PROUD BOY PEZZOLA. [PROUD BOY leader TARRIO posts that pic on Parler, and MINUTA replied, approximately 12/19/20.]

      • harpie says:

        12/16/20 THREE PERCENTERs say they “stand ready and [are] standing by” “to answer the call from our President” and they “are ready to enter into battle with General FLYNN leading the charge.”

        12/17/20 Michael FLYNN to Newsmax TV: Trump Has Options to Secure Integrity of 2020 Election https://www.newsmax.com/politics/trump-election-flynn-martiallaw/2020/12/17/id/1002139/

        [FLYNN to Greg Kelly Reports:] [TRUMP] could immediately on his order seize every single one of these machines around the country on his order. He could also order, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. It’s not unprecedented […]

        12/18/20 – 1/8/21 KERIK and GIULIANI run their operation from the WILLARD Hotel

        • Lady4Real says:

          “…he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. It’s not unprecedented […]”

          I always wondered about that statement by Flynn, whether he was losing touch with reality that the military could rerun the election struck me as bizarre. I live in Philadelphia and voted absentee. I had the image of the military forcing voters at gunpoint…never mind it was as absurd an image as it was coming out of Flynn’s lying mouth.

        • timbo says:

          He may be referring to Reconstruction and the laws passed at that time, hence the “Insurrection Act” invocation, etc.

      • harpie says:

        12/16/20 THREE PERCENTERs say they “stand ready and [are] standing by” “to answer the call from our President” and they “are ready to enter into battle with General FLYNN leading the charge.”

        12/17/20 Michael FLYNN to Newsmax TV: Trump Has Options to Secure Integrity of 2020 Election https://www.newsmax.com/politics/trump-election-flynn-martiallaw/2020/12/17/id/1002139/

        [FLYNN to Greg Kelly Reports:] [TRUMP] could immediately on his order seize every single one of these machines around the country on his order. He could also order, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. It’s not unprecedented […]

        12/18/20 – 1/8/21 KERIK and GIULIANI run their operation from the WILLARD Hotel

      • harpie says:

        RAYNE and Marcy,
        I’m SO sorry about how this comment thread turned out. I should never have started it here [it became much longer than expected] AND for some reason there are duplicates of some of the comments.

        IF it’s at all possible, could I get these taken down, and then I’ll repost them at the end?

        Any help you could provide is very much appreciated.

        -harpie

        • harpie says:

          Thanks Rayne…sorry about creating more work for you…if you think it’s OK to just leave it all, that’s good, too…your choice, of course!

        • Rayne says:

          I deleted one duplicate which had no replies. I think we might just let this slide for now; I feel like pulling anything out will be like playing Jenga. LOL

    • harpie says:

      12/14/20 BIDEN reaches 270 electoral votes needed to secure presidency
      12/14/20 TRUMP announces BARR’s resignation by tweet
      12/14/20 RHODES to TRUMP:

      You must act NOW as a wartime President, pursuant to your oath to defend the Constitution, which is very similar to the oath all of us veterans swore. We are already in a fight. It’s better to wage it with you as Commander-in-Chief than to have you comply with a fraudulent election, leave office, and leave the White House in the hands of illegitimate usurpers and Chinese puppets. Please don’t do it. Do NOT concede, and do NOT wait until January 20, 2021. Strike now.

    • harpie says:

      12/16/20 THREE PERCENTERs say they “stand ready and [are] standing by” “to answer the call from our President” and they “are ready to enter into battle with General FLYNN leading the charge.”

      12/17/20 Michael FLYNN to Newsmax TV: Trump Has Options to Secure Integrity of 2020 Election https://www.newsmax.com/politics/trump-election-flynn-martiallaw/2020/12/17/id/1002139/

      [FLYNN to Greg Kelly Reports:] [TRUMP] could immediately on his order seize every single one of these machines around the country on his order. He could also order, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. It’s not unprecedented […]

      12/18/20 – 1/8/21 KERIK and GIULIANI run their operation from the WILLARD Hotel

      • harpie says:

        Dec 18th 2020 TRUMP ReTweets 1AP‘s Ivan RAIKLIN:

        Hey Coach [TUBERVILLE] #WeThePeople need you to get on the field and lead in the Senate, [McCONNELL] just walked off the field in the middle of the 3rd Quarter and quit. Take Charge! We have your back!

        Dec 18th 2020 TRUMP ReTweets Amy KREMER

        Looks like Team #Alabama may save the Republic.

        Dec 18th 2020 TRUMP Tweets:

        .@senatemajldr and Republican Senators have to get tougher, or you won’t have a Republican Party anymore. We won the Presidential Election, by a lot. FIGHT FOR IT. Don’t let them take it away!

        Dec 18th 2020The “craziest meeting” of the TRUMP presidency.
        https://www.axios.com/trump-oval-office-meeting-sidney-powell-a8e1e466-2e42-42d0-9cf1-26eb267f8723.html 2/2/21
        [Powell, Flynn, Byrne, Emily Newman]

    • harpie says:

      12/19/20 TRUMP, POWELL, FLYNN meet AGAIN at WH.
      TRUMP asks about FLYNN’s 12/17/20 idea about imposing martial law and deploying the military to ‘rerun’ the election.
      12/19/20 Cindy CHAFIAN [Women for America First] seeks permit for a 1/6/21 “parade” from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol
      12/19/20 TRUMP ReTweets [Link to: Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud ‘more than sufficient’ to swing victory to Trump]

      A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election.
      Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!

      12/19/20 K. KREMER tweets: “The Calvary [sic] is coming, Mr. President!”
      12/19/20 Ali ALEXANDER receives call from “people from the WHITE HOUSE”
      12/19/20 [approx] Parler conversation between PB TARRIO and OK MINUTA about the 12/12/20 PHOTO of PEZZOLA and MINUTA

  2. Retired guy says:

    In the theme of what is left out:

    I can’t find it in any of the many indictments or affidavits, but recall a statement that Watkins said she was still waiting for an actual go command, in Nov or Dec. It may be in the prosecutor filings countering her petitions for release, a few of which I read, but can’t recover the links.

    By 30 Dec 2021, she was using the term “green lit” in comms with other conspirators in the indictments. .

    If my fuzzy memory is right, and there is a date for this earlier comment, there might be useful NET/NLT dates for when the word came down from people external to the OK communications.

    What a grand puzzle.

    • Rita says:

      I have been thinking of this as a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle, with only a part of what the completed puzzle looks like. With every revelation, it is as if we can say, “Oh that’s how that piece fits in.”. We have come a long way since January 6th, when, at first, it looked like just poor security planning allowed a bunch of excited and cuckoo Trump fanatics to storm the Capitol.

    • greenbird says:

      tried, just charging docs. no luck. results appear messy; hard to tweak here.
      Doc03 IND 00028 on 1.27.21:
      para 28 same as 43 below
      para 30 on 1.31.20 WATKINS respond invite “leadership only” SIGNAL-DCop “try to make it”

      Doc27 S.1 00028 on 2.19.21:
      43. On December 30, 2020, WATKINS and CALDWELL exchanged the following
      text messages:
      WATKINS Looks like we are greenlight to come to DC on the 6th. The Rally
      Point still at your place?

      Doc77 S.2 00028 on 3.12.21
      para 44 same as above

      Doc127 S.3 00028 on 3.31.21
      para 42 on 12.29.20 WATKINS txt CROWL
      para 43 on 12.29, 12.30.20 exchange txt msg re advance mtg prep for J6
      para 45 on 12.30.20 – same as para 43 above

      Doc169.1 LTR 00028 on 4.23.21 re addl disc.J Schaffer
      “On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, we emailed you about Jon Schaffer, who pled
      guilty last week, with respect to the information we have at this time about whether Mr.
      Schaffer has had communications with your clients.”
      [ has cooperation agreement ]

  3. BobCon says:

    “DOJ has entirely hidden the prior back-and-forth between the Oath Keepers and the Willard Hotel.”

    I think it’s worth thinking about this in terms of the PR side of the GOP. They probably assume there is a strong possibility DOJ or the 1/6 Committee drop evidence of ties between the muscle and the brains on the specific goals and means before the year is out, maybe before the summer is out.

    How will they spin it? I think they will need to marginalize anyone like Stone or Flynn to try to compartmentalize both Trump on one side and on the other collaborators like Hawley and Gosar (although Gosar is probably more expendable than Hawley).

    I think they will try to create a drumbeat among supposedly neutral observers that there is too much, horrors, politicization of the case. To make that work, they need to delay and minimize the impact of revelations along the way.

    And they need to convince the political editors at places like the Times and Washington Post that this affair is oh so tawdry, and not worth their time and resources. The case is doomed, the case is too complicated, the case is too old — whatever they can throw at it to convince their friends that they should focus on whatever ginned up controversy they can supply in August instead.

    • DaveC says:

      One wonders how the timing of additional indictments & trials will affect and be affected by the election cycle/ schedule. All well & good to say “DoJ should stay out of politics.” Its going to be messy and ambiguous in this case.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        Indeed. I absorbed the part about the FBI theoretically “avoiding doing anything that affects an upcoming election” during the 2016 election (when Comey did something that affected an upcoming election), but I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work if the investigation is dropping a shoe about twice a week …

        • BobCon says:

          A piece of it will be keep moving the goalposts so that prosecutors never get a real shot, according to the PR machine.

          It’s happening already with the Zapotosky article which is following a GOP line of defense, which originally was “OK, it was bad but not that bad and it was unorganized.” Now they have shifted to “it was bad and it was organized but not that bad and there is no sign it is connected to higher ups.”

          They’ll eventually move to “it was bad and it was organized and there are clear signs it was connected to higher ups, but will there be enough to indict?” And at some point it will be “Ok, but is there enough to convict?” and then “Ok, they got these guys but what about those guys?”

          The PR machine wants the press hacks dragging their heels all along the way.

      • Leoghann says:

        Those who are as worried as you about timing of indictments and upcoming political elections would have no indictments, ever. Especially if you factor in the states that have major elections in odd years. The fact is, there is no way to investigate or indict anyone who is remotely connected to politics without offending someone.

      • BobCon says:

        The PR campaign will be to make it appear to be much messier than it is in reality, and do as much as possible to portray good faith DOJ efforts as bad faith.

        The GOP PR machine knows the playbook — push reporters and editors to fall back on “both sides” models, encourage horse race frameworks, and try to flatter reporters into being superficially savvy.

        The basic goal is to get the DC press to perform a backflip — state with a straight face that Trump and the GOP using their power in illegal and illegitimate ways is just business as usual, while legal, legitimate and necessary action is a gross abuse of power.

        They know how much practice the DC press has. Keeping the press away from facts and analysis unmoors them.

    • Garrett Everhardt says:

      Nixon tried something similar a few times during Watergate. To no avail though; FBI and the reporters kept pressing ahead.

    • Rayne says:

      That access journalism jackass Maggie Haberman was soliciting information about polling between Biden and Trump or unnamed R yesterday, so clearly she’s deemed the current investigations doomed and moved onto the 2024 horse race coverage, the likes of which has fucked up this country so badly.

      • BobCon says:

        Habermann, Baker, and the crew of diner safari reporters like Peters, Gabriel and Tavernise will be extremely receptive to anti-investigation messaging from GOP operatives, and will be increasingly repeating propaganda about politicization and divisiveness.

        They don’t have the sources or analytical ability needed to report on actual investigation details, or for that matter anything political outside of their usual bubble of establishment Republicans — there’s a reason the National desk keeps getting caught citing GOP activists as moderate voters — they aren’t capable of on the ground reporting.

        They need to cut off at the pass any move to assign resources and front page space to 1/6 prosecutions because they will be literally incapable of reporting on it in their own beats.

  4. greenbird says:

    thus endeth today’s installment of our grand serial, Who Trips Gypsy Rhodes ?

    and i had, and am having, a great time with it, i’ll tell ya.

  5. Savage Librarian says:

    Stewart Rhodes’ connection to Serbia doesn’t seem so surprising if we remember Robert Rundo. Some reports indicate Rundo was expelled from Serbia. Others say he has returned. So, not sure what’s happening currently.

    “An American White Supremacist’s New Home in Serbia” – November 18, 2020
    …..
    “Publicly-available records on the Serbian business register’s website show that Rundo incorporated a limited liability company (D.O.O.;”društvo sa ograničenom odgovornošću” in Serbian) on July 23, 2020 called “Will2Rise doo Beograd-Palilula”.

    “Palilula is a municipality in the city of Belgrade. Incidentally, Rundo incorporated a company with the same name in Florida in October 2020. Robert Paul Rundo — Rundo’s full name, as is clear from American court records — is listed as the sole legal representative and sole owner of the company.”

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2020/11/18/an-american-white-supremacists-new-home-in-serbia/

    “California White Supremacist Robert Rundo Hunted by Police in Europe” – Jack Dutton, 4/01/21

    “The founder of a California-based white supremacist group who is wanted for allegedly inciting a riot and taking part in violence in the U.S. is being tracked down by Bosnian police, after he was expelled from neighboring Serbia.”

    “According to a report by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Robert Rundo, one of the founders of a US far-right organization called Rise Above Movement (RAM),
    entered the eastern European country on February 11.”

    https://www.newsweek.com/california-white-supremacist-robert-rundo-hunted-police-europe-1580366

    • Peterr says:

      Serbia has a broader following among the rightwing folks, especially those with conspiracy theories about COVID. From NBC’s story about Novak Djokovic being deported from Australia after losing his visa fight:

      Dan Andrews, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria, attracted anti-vaccine protesters’ ire with a blunt assessment of the Djokovic saga: “It’s very simple, just get vaccinated. And then everyone’s time wouldn’t have to be wasted with this.”

      The social network Telegram was awash with messages of support, many from people who believe in conspiracy theories about the origin of Covid and the ulterior motives of governments across the world.

      “I believe he is not only a great Tennis Player but also a Freedom Fighter. We stand together with Novak,” wrote one person in the group Novak Djokovic fans worldwide, whose profile picture displayed former President Donald Trump and the message: “Fight for Trump, January 6, we’re comin’!”

      I wish NBC had given that person’s name, so we could see whether they are mentioned in any of these indictments.

      • Leoghann says:

        The Serbians still consider Slobodan Milosevic a great patriot as well. There’s a strong nationalist streak that runs through their history and culture.

  6. dejavuagain says:

    The photo of the two golf carts: when and where was it taken, who was in the carts, where were they coming from, and where were they going too.

    • MMVA says:

      They are in front of the Department of Labor Building (3d St NW and C St NW) headed south on 3d St NW only a short distance from the Capitol. The next cross street is Constitution Ave, NW. Pennsylvania Ave, NW, is just a few feet beyond that. I think that is where they abandoned the golf carts and then walked to the Capitol. (Someone may have already found the location. I researched the location of the golf carts in the picture some time ago but wasn’t sure if it was more than a footnote to the story at the time. The shadow of the building that straddles the street and the fountain in the background helped narrow down the search.)

      The most direct route from the vicinity of the Ellipse, where they were being used at the rally, to the Capitol would have been either down Pennsylvania Ave, NW, or along Constitution Ave, NW, which intersects with Pennsylvania Ave, NW, at about 5th St, NW.

      This is speculation on my part. They may have started out on Pennsylvania Ave, NW; that would have given them a clear view of the route to the Capitol. They may have been trying to avoid crowds or police they could see in front of them and took this detour north of Pennsylvania Ave, NW to get to the Capitol faster and then got lost. That explains why one of them was using GPS to find the way.

      Does anyone know if there were more than two golf carts driven to the vicinity of the Capitol?

        • MMVA says:

          The indictment says:

          “110. Between 2:30 p.m. and 2:33 p.m., JAMES, MINUTA, ULRICH, and others rode in golf carts towards the Capitol, at times swerving around law enforcement vehicles, with MINUTA live-streaming their conduct over Facebook….”

          “111. At 2:33 p.m. JAMES, MINUTA, ULRICH, and others parked the golf carts near the Capitol.”

          “113. At 2:33 p.m. JAMES, MINUTA, ULRICH, and others then marched toward the Capitol and entered the restricted area of the Capitol grounds.”

          It seems to me that this crew would have taken more than three minutes to get from the Ellipse to the point they parked the golf carts, especially since they took a detour. It may be that the three minutes is the travel time from where the security camera captured them in front of the Labor Department to the wherever they parked the golf carts and “marched toward the Capitol.” There are bollards in the streets around the Capitol, which would have prevented them from driving right up to the Capitol building itself.

          I need to see if I can find Minuta’s Facebook video to see if it will provide more details about the route they took and the travel time.

        • pdaly says:

          The very specific 3 minute travel time for the golf cart in the indictment referenced above got me wondering about the maximal speeds of golf carts.

          I believe the Minuta/James’ indictment is mum about the starting location, but I wondered whether one could travel in 3 minutes flat from the WILLARD Hotel to “near the intersection of Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest” from which Minuta and James “then continued on foot towards the Capitol.”

          Using google maps, I enlisted the Prettyman Courthouse as a stand-in landmark for the end of the “Grand Theft Auto” golf cart race, as it is very close to that intersection.

          Travel distance between the Willard Hotel to that spot is 1.3 miles. The average golf cart, according to a websearch, has a maximum speed of 14 to 16 mph. That means, it would take 5.6 minutes to complete that trip, assuming no crowds or obstructions.

          However, more expensive road-capable golf carts reportedly reach maximal speeds of 25 mph. A golf cart traveling 25 mph from the Willard to Prettyman Courthouse would take 3.12 minutes.

          Do we have any idea what brand of golf cart is in that indictment photo?

          If they were traveling exactly 3 minutes and using a golf cart that had only 16 mph as its maximum speed, then the distance from Prettyman can only be 0.8 miles.

          One landmark on Pennsylvania Ave that is 0.8 miles from Prettyman Courthouse is… Trump International Hotel. A golf cart traveling 16 mph could make it from the Trump Hotel to Prettyman in 3 minutes, assuming no obstacles.

        • Epicurus says:

          Street legal gas golf carts can go faster than 25 miles per hour. Many gas golf carts have governors on the engine reducing speed to desired speed levels, on golf courses for example because they are much more easily tipped at higher speeds (hot rod, drinking golfers). Those governors are easily bypassed and such ungoverned carts can easily reach 25 mph.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Epicurus makes a good point. I’m no golf cart expert (never played the game and would walk if I did!), but I noticed that the second golf cart in the picture is an elongated, limo-style one. Perusing images of the many brands out there, the closest match seems to be the EZ-GO White Stretch Limo (the lead cart looks similar, but is regular-sized; EZ-GO makes a model like that too). The 48V electric version can go 19mph. (Incidentally, I get 1.1 miles from Willard to Prettyman, which is probably about 1/10 mile from the photo anyway.) At 19 mph that would take about 3 minutes, 10 seconds. (There are also ways of increasing cart speed, which sound like exactly the hacks these guys would think clever, but it doesn’t matter – we’re at 3 minutes already…)

        • Rayne says:

          You guys need to keep in mind this is a golf cart. It’s not obligated to follow roads, and the cops who could have ticketed them were occupied. It can drive on lawns, sidewalks, other surfaces.

        • MMVA says:

          This is my attempt to tie the golf cart Joshua James was driving on January 5, 2021, to the one in the photo above captured the next day.

          On the afternoon of January 5, 2021, Roger Stone made a speech at the Supreme Court. Stone is driven away in a four-seat EZ-GO golf cart by Joshua James (photo and video by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images). The front and right side of the cart can be seen. James is masked in most of these photos; however, he was later identified primarily by his Oath Keepers hat and the distinctive woven lanyard on the shoulder strap of his web gear.

          The golf cart belongs to the “National Carts” company according to sticker you can see on its hood. The smaller text on the company sticker is not legible to me. There is another company sticker on the right rear fender matching the one on the hood. The logo on the sticker matches the logo on the company’s website.

          The lead cart in the photo above shows a four-seat golf cart with what appears to me to be the National Carts company sticker on the right rear fender. So according to the indictment, James was in one of the golf carts on January 6, 2021. He was most likely driving the same four-seater from the day before.

          The second cart in the photo above carries six and seems to have the same company sticker on the right rear fender as the lead cart.

          The golf cart that James was shown driving on 5 January at the Supreme Court also has a temporary label stuck to the hood. It says, “Rally to Save America.” I can’t read the text above it. Below that there is a big number “4” telling us that there were at least four golf carts being used for the rallies. I’m not aware if this label was still on the cart on January 6, 2021.

          Web searches for images of golf carts at the rally on January 6, 2021, did not turn up anything other than the photo in the indictment above.

          Incidentally, the closest National Carts location is in Harrisonburg, VA, which is about 2 hours from Washington. The company also has three locations in Florida and one in Ohio.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          True, Rayne. So they could have gone down E Street NW after using sidewalks to get past the one-way block by the Ellipse. But for some reason they did NOT just cut across the greensward of the mall. Lost? Avoiding crowds? Or with a quick stop along the way to pick up or drop off someone of importance? All are possible I suppose…

        • pdaly says:

          Thanks. I see google maps was including the added distance a car or bike would need to detour in real traffic. I get the shorter distance (1 mile from Willard Hotel to 3rd St NW and Pennsylvania Ave, “6201 3rd St NW”) when I change to pedestrian setting.

          Pennsylvania Ave (up to 3rd St NW) and streets surrounding the WH were restricted to regular car traffic on Jan 6, 2021, so I assume a golf cart at the Willard (which has westward flow of traffic past its entrance) could skip the initial extra turns and pull a U-turn instead in the street and head off east towards the U.S. Capitol.

          Traveling the 1 mile @ 19 mph gets you to that intersection in 3.15 minutes. Right on time!

          I’ll also note Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Ave NW is 0.9 miles to the intersection. At 19 mph you would arrive in 2.89 minutes.

          And finally Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave NW is only 0.7 miles to the intersection. You could use any speed golf cart to get there in 3 minutes, including one that travels ONLY 14 mph. This slowest cart would take exactly 3 minutes.

        • pdaly says:

          Curious thing about google maps. “Bodacious One” seems to pin the actual intersection but if you type in the associated address, “6201 3rd St NW” it maps to a location 1 hour north of the city! Wondering if this is a hack or an ad?

      • Ravenclaw says:

        I think F Street NW would have been a good direct route from near the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion to 3rd Street NW. With the tactical advantage, I suppose, of making an end run around roiling crowds and any law enforcement.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          If it is the case that they ended up following GPS, then it’s possible that evidence of route and timing could be extracted from the GPS device, if it was attached to the cart, rather than being on someone’s phone. Even if it was a phone that was used, if it was one of the seized devices, then the evidence might come from there.

  7. Badger Robert says:

    I didn’t want to comment, but I have to note that the so called leadership were absolute cowards. As Trump was very brave in encouraging people to march to the capital, and then went to watch on TV, these leaders were bold in encouraging others to commit stochastic violence, while their actions were self protective and suspicious.
    The so called leaders acted as if they knew they were being watched. They knew their communications were being intercepted and they knew some operatives already had FBI handlers.

    • Al Ostello says:

      Tangerine Palpatine is a shameless coward, just like his all his bootlicking sycophants (GOP). I mean, they literally went full cult by having no party platform (other than whatever lawless Trump wishes for.)

    • Garrett Everhardt says:

      I’d be shocked if Stone didn’t insulate any personal participation extremely well. As an old dirty tricks pro he knew the stakes. Perhaps that’s why chasing him any further has been sidelined.

      • BobCon says:

        Sidelined according to….?

        The final paragraph of this piece doesn’t support that conclusion, and suggests that prosecutors know more recently about what the Willard Hotel group was doing.

  8. MMVA says:

    Here is a Willard Hotel story. Daughter #2 used to work at the Williard Office Building which shares an entrance with the hotel on the north (F Street, NW) side. She said that there were a couple of occasions when foreign leaders stayed at the Willard. That meant increased security. Secret Service agents would be stationed at the entrances to check credentials of people entering the hotel or office building. (The other hotel entrance is on Pennsylvania Ave, NW.) She said the first time she got asked for her credentials by a young Secret Service agent, he was very formal, addressing her as “Ma’am”. She said it was the first time she had ever gotten “Ma’am’ed” by anyone and she wasn’t sure if he was talking to her at first; she was in her twenties at the time.

    Sometimes, F Street, NW, would be closed for security purposes too.

    I’m not sure if diplomatic protocol requires foreign leaders staying at the Williard to arrive at the White House by car or not. As has been pointed out by others earlier, it is only a short walk from the Willard to the White House grounds.

      • timbo says:

        I’m going to guess here—and if this hasn’t been done, I’d certainly like to know why it hasn’t—that the FBI has looked for the bomber in the Willard camera footage?

        • Rayne says:

          Why do you assume the FBI hasn’t already done this given the amount and location of video they’ve already shared with the public?

          Don’t answer that. Jesus. I don’t need it. More people need to look at the FBI’s published material.

        • timbo says:

          Well, there’s been some instances where the FBI hasn’t done its best over the decades. Frankly, I’m guessing the bomber was pretty well disguised and changed outfits, etc, etc, from when seen in the videos. However, I am also assuming that the FBI has looked at the video from the Willard for possible clues… so, what are the chances of both being assumptions being correct? Less than 100% but more than 95%?

  9. JohnForde says:

    Word of the day at EW.net?
    “Interlocuter” built an early lead, but running away with it at the end is “Stochastic”.
    You know, “Stochastic”, like the trajectory of a Kyler Murray pass.
    (a notional ideal location but…. we’ll just see)

  10. Molly Pitcher says:

    Tonight, Rachel Maddow illustrated, by showing several previous openings of the electoral college, that Mike Pence had gotten special language from the parliamentarian of the Senate that acknowledged that there were unaccredited and unofficial electors submitted to Congress.

    She fully credited Kyle Cheney of Politico for having discovered this.

    This means that Pence knew well in advance that the fake electors scam was going on.

    • Leoghann says:

      I’m not sure where you’re going with that. Does it surprise you? I thought it had been pretty obvious from around the first of December 2020.

      • Dopey-o says:

        IMO, Pence knew that he was expected to stall the certification long enough to get Trump’s bogus electors accepted. He refused, for reasons unknown to us yet.

        But if Pence knew the general outlines, so did several others who who travelled in and out of the Oval Office, many of them federal employees.

        So my question: if I were a White House employee who knew of a plan to submit forged certificates and prevent an honest tally of electoral votes, am I required to report this to law enforcement? If I kept silent and allowed these actions to progress, am I now part of a seditious conspiracy?

        I certainly hope so ….

        • Al Ostello says:

          Excellent point! If not seditious conspiracy, it seems to be conspiracy for sure. I also always think RICO with everything Trump related.

        • WilliamOckham says:

          Pretty sure only people who participate/plan the violence get the seditious conspiracy. Everyone else probably gets 18 U.S. Code § 1512 (c) (2) and there are a whole lot of people who have legal exposure on that one. (Reminder, I’m not a lawyer).

        • Dopey-o says:

          If Merrick Garland says it’s seditious conspiracy, that’s good enough for me.

          I know it’s way too soon, but I would love to see the photos and strings the DOJ has mounted on a wall where they build their case.

        • dwfreeman says:

          Whether Pence knew the plan –and he almost certainly did– there are multiple witnesses including Trump himself who know why he chose not to go along, because he ultimately decided he couldn’t legally do what Trump wanted. He didn’t have the authority under the Constitution except to count the electoral votes certifying Joe Biden’s victory.

          In a face-to-face Oval Office meeting on Jan. 5, Trump tried to cajole Pence into doing his bidding the next day. Pence wouldn’t go along. In Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, recount their conversation.

          This is all I want you to do, Trump tells Pence, let the House decide the election. “What do you think, Mike?” Trump asked. Then he gestured to noise coming from outside Oval Office windows, it was growing crowd noise from nearby Trump supporters. “If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to,” Trump asked.

          “I wouldn’t want any person to have that authority,” Pence said. “But wouldn’t it almost be cool to have that power?” Trump responded. “No,” Pence said. “Look I’ve read this, I don’t see a way to do it. We’ve exhausted every option. I’ve done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It’s simply not possible. My interpretation is: No,” he continued.

          “I personally believe there are limits to what I can do. So, if you have a strategy for the 6th, it really shouldn’t involve me because I’m just there to open envelopes.”

          Of course, Pence is integral to a comprehensive GOP plan masterminded for months, before the election. Without him John Eastman’s plot to reinstall Trump as president, either through a delayed Electoral College process giving states a chance to decertify electors and reauthorize clean slates or throwing a disputed election to the House, won’t work. They need someone to administer and rule on certification objections, whether it’s Pence or someone in Constitutional succession, to carry the day.

          Trump warns Pence he will lose his friendship with him if doesn’t change his mind. “I made you. You were nothing. Your career is over if you do this.” But Pence wouldn’t budge. And their meeting ended.

          Even as the press learned that night Pence was standing firm, Trump would send out a countervailing statement about Pence’s intentions, falsely claiming the vice president was in agreement with Trump about his power to act to deny Biden’s EC certification.

          When Pence’s staff learned of the false statement, they were stunned. Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short called Trump spokesman Jason Miller at the Willard Hotel where Trump’s loyal lieutenants were also meeting together and organizing a Jan. 6 GOP congressional battle plan. Soon after, Trump himself called Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon there to let them know Pence had been “arrogant” and was no longer the same man he knew. The fight was over without him.

          At 1 am Jan. 6, Trump tweeted, “If Vice President @Mike Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process not approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!”

          Trump would continue lobbying his vice president even after sending a riotous mob to the Capitol to make his point.

    • Rayne says:

      If he was included in any communications with the intent of roping him into the conspiracy I can see why Pence would know in advance of January 6.

      There were news reports about the false electors in Michigan before January 6 as well, not certain about other states, though the reporting could have been clouded by threats of violence.

  11. morganism says:

    trapezoid of discovery
    @get_innocuous

    this guy points out that there were at least 4, and prob 5 “War Rooms” around the city that afternoon. I can’t search his feed, but he had pics and id’s for many of the residents of the rooms.

  12. gmoke says:

    “…convince them it will be torches and pitchforks time is they don’t do the right thing.”

    Why do I hear that phrase in the voice of Pat Buchanan?

    Gad, we’ve been plagued by these self-righteous monsters for decades.

  13. glenn storey says:

    Serbia, huh? For what it’s worth, on June 28 of every year, Serbia celebrates Vidovdan, which is partly a religious holiday, but also commemorates the Battle of Kosovo. Which they lost to the Turks. In 1389.

  14. pdaly says:

    Small victory. I determined the location of the golf carts in the photo the FBI/DOJ released (see photo above, or photo visible before clicking on the post).

    Use google maps street view starting at the intersection of Indiana Ave NW and 3rd Street NW and head south through the opening in the building overarching the street.

    The golf carts are heading south through the tunnel of the U.S. Department of Labor building and you will emerge at the fountain entrance (Visitor’s Entrance) of the Department of Labor on 3rd St NW. The fountain is recognizable in the upper right background of the photo. The stair case/plaza in the foreground of the photo are also present in google street view.

    So Minuta/James did NOT take the golf carts east down Pennsylvania Ave to the U.S. Capitol–at least not the final leg of it.

    • pdaly says:

      For future reference, “298 3rd St NW, Washington, DC” in google maps pinpoints the Fountain Entrance (Visitor Center entrance) to the Department of Labor.
      Use Street View from this spot to go north into the tunnel a few feet to see the exact spot where the golf carts were captured on security camera heading south en route to the U.S. Capitol.

  15. harpie says:

    Continuing from here:
    https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/01/17/the-disappearing-willard-hotel-and-the-accused-seditionists-other-interlocutors/#comment-917362

    Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines The Jan. 6 select panel has obtained the draft order and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.” Both are reported here in detail for the first time.
    https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/21/read-the-never-issued-trump-order-that-would-have-seized-voting-machines-527572
    01/21/2022 12:21 PM//Updated: 01/21/2022 01:01 PM

    Among the records that Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to shield from Jan. 6 investigators are a
    1] [12/16/20] draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines and
    2] a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.”

    POLITICO has reviewed both documents. // The text of the draft executive order is published here for the first time. // The executive order — which also would have appointed a special counsel to probe the 2020 election — was never issued, and the remarks were never delivered. […]

    • harpie says:

      https://twitter.com/woodruffbets/status/1484598109422424067
      1:45 PM · Jan 21, 2022

      1/ MORE: The draft executive order cites two classified documents: National Security Presidential Memoranda 13 and 21.

      The existence of NSPM 21 had not been previously reported.

      Source familiar says both speak to the WH involvement in cyber attacks…
      2/…and that they’re seen as a pair. The fact that EO’s author knew about NSPM 21 suggests that person had information about sensitive government secrets

      https://twitter.com/rgoodlaw/status/1484642359459655687
      4:41 PM · Jan 21, 2022

      Mike Flynn is presumably someone who likely knew about the existence of this highly classified NSPM, and a potential crime to reveal it.

      Sidney Powell may not be able to take the Fifth if asked who told her to include the NSPM in the draft executive order. cc: @zachsdorfman

    • harpie says:

      The DRAFT EXECUTIVE ORDER
      Written on 12/16/20
      https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000017e-7db3-d1fc-ad7f-fff3fd720000

      By the authority vested in me as President of the United States pursuant to the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including Article 2 section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, Executive Orders 12333, 13848, National Security Presidential Memoranda 13 and 21, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA) and all applicable Executive Orders derived therefrom, the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C.1601 et seq.) (NBA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code: […]

      • harpie says:

        In that visionsurreal THREAD:

        [THREAD] OH MY: So the draft Executive Order to seize election machines was dated 12/16/20 and the day before that–on 12/15/20–is when Carissa Keshel sent an e-mail on behalf of General Flynn asking a Michigan sheriff to seize voting machines!
        This was Flynn! [link] [Long and winding THREAD]

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