Speed Reads

impeachment round 2

DOJ alleges militia leader 'was awaiting direction from President Trump' in Capitol riot charges

The Department of Justice has directly linked former President Donald Trump's words with inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Jessica Watkins, one of the leaders of the far-right militia group Oath Keepers, was charged last month with conspiracy and other counts after allegedly organizing and leading a group of people to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6. And in a Thursday filing, federal prosecutors alleged Watkins "believed she was responding to the call from then-President Donald Trump himself," CNN reports.

"As the inauguration grew nearer, Watkins indicated that she was awaiting direction from President Trump," prosecutors wrote in the filing. For example, Watkins wrote in a Nov. 9, 2020 text that she felt "POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can't trust it." "Watkins had perceived her desired signal by the end of December," the prosecutors wrote, and when the certification of the 2020 electoral votes came around, Watkins had a "single-minded devotion to obstruct through violence."

The case against Watkins would've fit in perfectly with the case House impeachment managers started making just hours later. Rep. Diana Degette (D-Colo.) used Thursday's impeachment trial to list several examples of Capitol rioters insisting they were "invited here by the president of the United States," and that they were "fighting for Trump" as Democrats attempt to prove Trump incited the insurrection. Kathryn Krawczyk