January 6 panel asks Secret Service for information about contacts between agents and Oath Keeper members
Investigators with the House select committee probing the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol have asked the United States Secret Service for information about contacts between its agents and members of the far-right Oath Keepers group.
The inquiry comes after it was revealed during court testimony that members of the group, including leader Stewart Rhodes, claimed to be in contact with Secret Service agents prior to rallies for former President Donald Trump after the 2020 election. Members of the Oath Keepers are currently on trial for charges relating to the Capitol attack, including seditious conspiracy.
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to CNN that the January 6 panel had reached out to the agency and “a verbal briefing was provided to the staff.”
NBC News first reported the inquiry.
Guglielmi told CNN the Secret Service would provide records of contact between the Oath Keepers and Secret Service agents.
Members of the Oath Keepers occasionally reached out to the Secret Service prior to January 6, 2021, with questions about permissible items for rallies, an official with the agency told CNN earlier this week. Further, when agents learned the group planned to attend events, agents reached out and met with members.
While it’s not uncommon for law enforcement agents to maintain contacts with groups that are of investigative interest, the relationship with the Oath Keepers has come under increased scrutiny during the trial.
John Zimmerman, a former North Carolina leader of the Oath Keepers, testified earlier this month that to prepare for the rally, Rhodes said he was in contact with a member of the Secret Service who offered advice on what weapons were allowed near the rally. Rhodes also repeatedly represented he was in touch with an agent, said Zimmerman, who noted that he had not heard the entire conversation.
CNN has asked the Secret Service for dates of contacts and names of Oath Keepers contacted, as well as whether the contacts were documented at the time.