WASHINGTON — A member of the far-right Oath Keepers who stormed the US Capitol testified that he was ready to fight to keep President Donald Trump in office and was preparing in the weeks leading up to January 6, 2021. to say goodbye to his family. , he testified in a seditious conspiracy trial on Tuesday.
Jason Dolan, 46, a military veteran, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing official proceedings in September and testified at the trial of five other members of the extremist group under a cooperation agreement with government.
Other cooperating defendants are also expected to testify at trial. Dolan has not pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy; they have three other Oathkeepers.
Dolan testified Tuesday that before the Jan. 6 attack, he was drinking, often alone and in his garage, and getting sucked into online conspiracy theories. He “was watching a lot of videos about the election. At that moment I felt like the election had been stolen from me,” he said.
Dolan said he was trying to “prepare himself mentally” at the time for how far he was willing to go to keep Trump in office for a second term.
In text messages from December 2020 that the government showed Tuesday, Dolan wrote that there was “no turning back” from what he was prepared to do and that he would be “lucky” if he received “a prison sentence, labeled treason, or a bullet”. “As a result of his actions.
“I think my biggest problem is trying to talk myself out of saying goodbye to my family, after all they’ve been through, with the likelihood of never seeing them again,” Dolan wrote in the message to other Florida Oath Keepers.
Testifying Tuesday, Dolan said he wasn’t just kidding.
“I meant it literally,” Dolan said, adding that he was asking himself, “Is this all just talk or am I willing to back up my words with actions?”
Dolan testified that he was “pretty angry” when he heard that Joe Biden had won the election and said it “didn’t seem possible” that Trump would lose.
“As a person, it’s not something you can do alone. You need a group. You need a lot of people,” he testified.
“It seemed like within the group that I was with … there was a core group that would be willing to fight,” Dolan said, referring to Florida members of the Oath Keepers organization.
Echoing language used by Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, Dolan said he felt he needed to be willing to “conquer or die” and, if necessary, “take up arms and fight back” on Trump’s behalf.
Five members of the Oath Keepers, including Rhodes, are on trial on charges of seditious conspiracy. Rhodes has said that the “quick reaction force,” or QRF, and weapons stockpile the group set up outside Washington, DC, would have been brought in only if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act and called in groups like the Oath Keepers. .
Dolan said he thought Trump would stop the certification of Biden’s victory by invoking the Insurrection Act and that the Oath Keepers would have to do it themselves if Trump didn’t.
“I didn’t really go to investigate the legality of the Insurrection Act,” Dolan said. He added that he was anticipating a “government versus government” fight and that he was willing to oppose the incoming Biden administration “by any means necessary.”
“That’s why we brought our firearms,” Dolan said.
The government released photos of Dolan entering the Capitol, and Dolan testified that he was yelling “treason!” along with other members of the pro-Trump mob.
“I wanted them to be afraid of me,” he said of members of Congress in the building that day. “If, in my perspective, they weren’t going to do the right thing, maybe they might be afraid to do the right thing.”
Asked by Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Nestler how he felt about his actions now, Dolan said, “Looking back, I think I was pretty naive, frankly stupid with some of my decisions.
“I am grateful that President Trump at the time did not do something like invoke the Insurrection Act, because there would have been a lot of violence if he had.
“I feel pretty stupid about the whole thing,” Dolan added.