Jones, who built an astonishing website around the Infowars empire, gave Rhodes a platform to reach a wider audience—from the day Rhodes delivered the first public meeting of the Oath Keepers to the weeks surrounding the conquest of the U.S. Capitol.
At the same time, Rhodes’s department guards protected Jones at several “Stop the Steal” assemblies. The powerful combination of reach and influence reached a boil on January 6, 2021, as Oath Keepers were tasked with providing personal security details to Jones and Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander before capping the pro-Trump rally with deadly riots at the Capitol.
Jones’ attorney did not respond to CNN’s questions. Alexander’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
A gullible audience for Rhodes’s vociferous conspiratorial responses
In 2012, Rhodes appeared on Jones’ Show and made a comparison to the American Revolution during a conversation about the government’s alleged abuse of power. “Just as the Founders did, they exhausted all their peaceful means, but also mobilized more people for the cause, won more people, stressed them, stressed them, made them ready for confrontation. That is what we must do,” Rhodes said.
In the same clip, Jones said the current government is “totally illegal, and has been caught committing so many crimes that it’s mind-blowing.”
The following year, Rhodes appeared on Infowars in a segment about the widespread ban on firearms. “Every gun owner I’ve spoken to is very concerned that this is all about glass balls as we head toward civil war,” Rhodes said.
Jones agreed with Rhodes, “The line was drawn in the sand like the Alamo.” “These tyrants don’t understand, do they?” Jones asked Rhodes at the end of the clip. “No, they don’t, unless they really want a civil war.”
Mark Betcavage, a historian and researcher on extremism with the Anti-Defamation League, said Jones and Rhodes’ shared belief in the so-called “New World Order” that seeks to disarm and enslave Americans enabled them to benefit one another.
Betcavage said Jones presented Rhodes with a gullible audience, while Rhodes provided him with loud, conspiratorial phrases to fill his shows. But he said the danger of their ideology manifested itself on January 6, describing it as a “logical path that does not contradict their previous views.”
In 2016, Rhodes told Jones that he believed the Democratic and Republican parties were the same and that they would rig elections against candidates such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Jones said Rhodes “proved correct” in his predictions of impending tyranny. “I mean really, seriously,” Jones said, “You need to prepare for the full occupation, the people who are coming to get you out of your place and the full war.”
He boasted that his group had well-trained veterans. “If this civil war breaks out, a bloody war, they will immediately go to work and take it to the left,” he said.
Oath Keepers act as Jones’ personal security detail
While Jones gave Rhodes a platform for his extremist message, Rhodes Department guards in turn provided security for Jones at the Stop the Steal gatherings.
Jonathan Moseley, Rhodes’ attorney, told CNN that the Oath Keepers mission was to provide security for a group of “VIPs,” including Jones, at the January 5 and 6 Stop the Steal rallies, but this week’s indictment paints a big picture. different.
Court documents state that Rhodes and his associates “planned to halt the legal transfer of presidential power by January 20, 2021, which included multiple methods of deploying power.”
“They coordinated cross-country travel to enter Washington, D.C., armed themselves with a variety of weapons, put on combat and tactical equipment, and were prepared to answer Rhodes’ call to arms in the direction of Rhodes.”
Rhodes had posted an alert to all the department’s guards on January 6 that read: “All Patriots who have access to the capital must be in the capital!” “Stand up now, or kneel forever.”
And they came from all over the country – armed, in combat fatigues and with radios for communication.
In the days leading up to January 6, Rhodes and his co-conspirators also amassed an impressive arsenal of weapons and tactical equipment, according to prosecutors, who said the Oath Keepers commander spent thousands of dollars on firearms and related equipment prior to the operation. .
Rhodes denies entering the Capitol. However, prosecutors say he “entered the restricted area of the Capitol and ordered his followers to meet him at the Capitol.”
In March, two months after the riots, Rhodes appeared on Infowars again and described the idea that the Oath Keepers were involved in a plot to assault the Capitol as a “full bed.” Then he gave another sermon in which he said he hoped the government would ban assault weapons: “This is how the Americans will finally rise up.”