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Indicted Proud Boys members allegedly sent a slew of damning texts


Five members of the Proud Boys extremist group were charged with seditious conspiracy on Monday. The Justice Department alleges the men aided last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol in order to stop certification of the 2020 election results. 

Reported texts among the indicted members make their apparent goal seem clear as day: wage an attack on democracy. And, echoing rhetoric from several right-wing lawmakers, those reported texts invoked Revolutionary War references to valorize their anti-democratic views. 

The federal indictment charges the group’s former chairman, Enrique Tarrio, and four other group members with attempting to stop the lawful transition of power. And while we’re a ways off from a conviction, the evidence the DOJ put forth includes some embarrassingly incriminating alleged exchanges between Proud Boys members on and around the day of the riot. 

In one of the most damning exchanges, a Proud Boys member identified as “Person-1” in the indictment seems to acknowledge the group stormed the Capitol to delay the election certification. A text the individual allegedly sent to Tarrio after lawmakers were cleared from the Senate chamber said, “1776 motherfuckers,” referencing the Revolutionary War. Another text to Tarrio allegedly said, “They HAVE to certify today! Or it’s invalid.” 

In their excitement, Person-1 appears to have admitted to sedition, which is defined in part by federal law as conspiring to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force” the U.S. government. And legally speaking, it probably doesn’t help that they compared said sedition to a literal act of war. 

On that point, invoking 1776 has become so common a theme among conservatives defending the Capitol riot that it begs the question whether there was some type of coordination on the messaging. 

Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia called Jan. 6 “our 1776 moment” the day before the deadly riot.

Here’s a tweet her fellow extremist lawmaker, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, sent the morning of the deadly riot, hours before “Person-1” allegedly used similar language. 

Tarrio also invoked the date on social media the day of the attack, according to the indictment.

Lawyers for Tarrio and the other defendants have repeatedly denied that they conspired ahead of Jan. 6 to storm the Capitol.

But when it comes to the Proud Boys at least, Monday’s indictment signals the DOJ believes the 1776 talk was more than just bluster. The indictment alleged Tarrio received a document in December 2020 with instructions on how to occupy government buildings and disrupt business. It was reportedly called “1776 returns.”

The damning remarks don’t end with the Revolutionary War cosplay, though, according to the DOJ. 

Multiple Proud Boys members seem to have excitedly declared their role in the Capitol riot in ways that were saved for posterity. For example, the indictment alleged one of the defendants, Joseph Biggs, messaged a Proud Boys group chat, “So we just stormed the f— Capitol. Took the motherf— place back. That was so much fun.”

Oops. 

Another reported text features the mysterious “Person-1” yet again. After breaching the Capitol, this person reportedly sent a text to Tarrio asking, “Are we a militia yet?” to which Tarrio allegedly replied, “Yep.”

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