Former Oath Keeper testifies at January Sixth Committee hearing

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Oath Keeper
Jason Van Tatenhove at the January Sixth Committee hearing. (CREDIT: CBS News)

The January Sixth Committee is trying to prove that then-President Donald Trump, tweeted a call to action to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. The message was telling them the election was stolen and that the protest on January Sixth would be ‘wild’. Tuesday one of those former Oath Keepers testified.

Jason Van Tatenhove gave us a glimpse into what this organization was like, and what it tried to accomplish. Van Tatenhove got involved with the group as an independent journalist.

Van Tatenhove was covering Bundy Ranch, a 2014 standoff that the Oath Keepers had against the United States Bureau of Land Management. He then ended up covering two more standoffs after he was offered a job as the organization’s national media director.

Currently, Van Tatenhove has swayed far from the Oath Keepers. According to Van Tatenhove, the group is what we saw on January Sixth. The stack formation when members charged into The Capitol, is what Van Tatenhove said is a violent militia.

He said Stewart Rhodes, the group’s leader, kept recruiting people who were further and further to the right. Getting into white nationalists and straight-up racists. He said, the group’s goal for America, doesn’t include the law. It includes violence and getting their way through lies and deceit. Finally, there was a straw that broke the camel’s back for Van Tatenhove.

“There were many red flags and I probably should have broke with them much earlier than I did,” Van Tatenhove said. “There was a group of core members of the group, of the Oath Keepers, and some associates. They were having a conversation at that public area where they were talking about how the Holocaust was not real. And that was, for me, something I just could not abide.”

Van Tatenhove did not mince his words when he said the Oath Keepers are a very dangerous organization. He said it over and over again in his testimony.

Tuesday, the committee laid out connections with Trump allies and the organization. Kelly Meggs is the head of the Florida Oath Keepers. Meggs was directly speaking with allies like Michael Flynn. And, Meggs mentioned how many of the right-wing or extremist groups were getting together to join efforts and be at The Capitol on January Sixth.

The DOJ said Meggs and Punta Gorda’s David Moreschel are seen in the infamous stack formation mentioned earlier, working their way into The Capitol. Both are now charged with the most serious charges to date in the entire investigation, seditious conspiracy, and have pleaded not guilty.

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