According to a new report from The New York Times, federal authorities have discovered a communication between a member of the far-right extremist group known as the Proud Boys and a person associated with the Trump White House from the days shortly before the January Capitol rioting. The content of the call, if available, is not immediately clear, and officials did not name either the Proud Boy member or the Trump-affiliated individual who was on the call, but the newly discovered communication constitutes a direct link between a group associated with the rioting and the Trump White House.
Separately, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio told authorities that he called longtime Trump ally Roger Stone in the days before the Capitol attack, but an official told the Times that the Tarrio call was a separate issue. The newly reported call between a Proud Boys member and a Trump-affiliated individual was something else.
As explained by the Times, authorities have “charged more than a dozen members of the Proud Boys with crimes related to the attack, including conspiracy to obstruct the final certification of President Biden’s electoral victory and to attack law enforcement officers.” Members of the group also “coordinated travel to Washington and shared lodging near the city, with the intent of disrupting Congress and advancing Mr. Trump’s efforts to unlawfully maintain his grip on the presidency,” the Times explains. During the rioting, which proceeded under the explicit pretense of Trump’s deranged lie that the 2020 presidential election was rigged for Biden, Trump supporters tried to forcibly stop the certification of the election outcome.
As part of their investigation into the Capitol rioting, federal investigators have obtained large quantities of data surrounding cellphone communications around the Capitol on the day of the violence. Federal data collection has revealed “evidence in the days leading up to Jan. 6 of communications between far-right extremists and lawmakers who were planning to appear at the rally featuring Mr. Trump that occurred just before the assault,” according to the Times.
Trump himself addressed the Proud Boys during a pre-election debate. When pressured about the group, he bumblingly said that they should “stand back and stand by,” which many took as a request for the group to be ready for violent action, like the rioting at the Capitol. Trump eventually clarified that he was supposedly unfamiliar with the group, adding that his remarks were meant to pressure the group out of the spotlight, as though he was trying to say something like stand down.