Federal prosecutors say that a document found in the possession of Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the far-right Proud Boys, contained a plan to occupy several buildings around Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021 ― including the Supreme Court building ― “to show our politicians We the People are in charge.”
A report on Monday from The New York Times described the document as “detailed.”
Citing sources who had seen it, the Times said the document named seven buildings, including six House and Senate office buildings. It did not specifically mention the Capitol building, which was stormed last year by a mob of thousands bent on overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Titled “1776 Returns,” the nine-page document was first described in court filings against Tarrio, who is currently facing charges including conspiracy to obstruct government proceedings in connection with the events of last Jan. 6.
Prosecutors say an unnamed individual sent the pages to Tarrio at the very end of December 2020, days before the attack, calling for as “many people as possible” to raid the buildings.
The Times said the document’s origin is murky, although it may have been provided to Tarrio “by one of his girlfriends at the time.”
It reportedly contained five different sections ― titled “Infiltrate,” “Execution,” “Distract,” “Occupy” and “Sit-In” ― calling for groups of at least 50 people each to breach the seven government buildings. Participants were advised to “not look tactical,” sources told the Times. If the groups had difficulty breaching the buildings, they were reportedly advised to start pulling fire alarms at nearby hotels and stores to distract law enforcement.
Tarrio was not at the Capitol riot himself, having been arrested two days previously for setting fire to a Black Lives Matter sign and after a judge ordered him to leave Washington, D.C. He also is not accused of sharing the document with anyone else, according to the Times.
But prosecutors say he “led the advance planning” with five co-conspirators ― who have all been previously charged ― and “remained in contact with other members of the Proud Boys” during the attack on the Capitol.
Tarrio allegedly told members of the Jan. 6 group to arrive “incognito” and not wear anything to signify their alignment with the Proud Boys, court documents state. He also allegedly floated the idea of dressing “in all BLACK for the occasion,” referencing the color most often worn by anti-fascist protesters who oppose far-right groups. (Wearing all black could have misled observers into thinking that “antifa,” an enemy of the Proud Boys, was actually behind the Capitol attack.)
Tarrio allegedly created an encrypted group chat in which the idea of staging a “main operating theater” in front of the Capitol building was cemented.
“What would they do [if] 1 million patriots stormed and took the capital building. Shoot into the crowd? I think not,” an unnamed member of the group chat mused, according to court filings.
Tarrio’s arrest in the days before the Capitol riot spooked his co-conspirators, who worried that law enforcement would be able to gain access to his phone, prosecutors say. After his release, Tarrio allegedly did not leave the D.C. area immediately. Instead, he spent 30 minutes huddling with other far-right leaders, including Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes, in an underground parking garage where a documentary film crew picked up some of their conversation.
Rhodes was indicted on seditious conspiracy charges earlier this year.