- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2021

Oath Keepers, a militia group involved in the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, is reestablishing its online presence after its website vanished in the aftermath of last week’s violent attack.

Days after the Oath Keepers site abruptly went offline, it reappeared Wednesday along with a message blaming its brief disappearance on its former hosting provider and the “hostile radical left.”

“Our server provider, LiquidWeb has shown its colors and caved to the Loony Left,” said part of the message. “We will recover and are working to rebuild a communications and membership website.”

Men wearing Oath Keepers insignia were among mobs of supporters of President Trump who stormed the Capitol last Wednesday as Congress met inside to formalize the results of his failed reelection bid.

Oath Keepers leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes, who formed the group in 2009, previously told members of his organization to prepare for “battle” in anticipation of them deploying last week to Washington, D.C. 

Two days before the Capitol was attacked, Mr. Rhodes wrote on the Oath Keeper site that it was critical its members get to Washington and “stand tall” with the president against a purported “coup.”

Mr. Rhodes, who says his group is made up mainly of current and former police and military personnel, said in the same post that Mr. Trump should have the militia help re-do the presidential election. 

“Whether this Republic survives will depend on the conduct of all of us patriots, as well as on President Trump being strong, resolute and decisive,” Mr. Rhodes wrote on the Oath Keepers site Jan. 4. 

“Patriots, you must prepare yourselves for whatever may come,” added Mr. Rhodes, a former U.S. Army paratrooper. “Prepare your mind, body, and spirit for battle, and above all else, prepare to STAND!”

The Oath Keepers website disappeared a few days after the Capitol was stormed, and it remained inaccessible for a couple more before it emerged anew Monday with a new statement and little else. 

In addition to switching from LiquidWeb to a different hosting provider, IP Volume LCD, Oath Keepers also moved its site from GoDaddy to another domain registrar, Epik, according to public records. 

LiquidWeb, IP Volume LC, Epik, GoDaddy and Mr. Rhodes did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment. 

President-elect Joseph R. Biden decisively won the recent White House race, but Mr. Trump asserted otherwise after his loss became apparent, including up to and during last week’s attack. 

Mr. Trump had encouraged his supporters to rally last week in Washington for what he said would be a “wild” protest happening on the day Congress was set to count electoral votes cementing his loss.

Speaking to thousands of supporters near the White House that afternoon, Mr. Trump encouraged them to “fight like hell” and said he would meet them at Capitol Hill to have their voices heard. 

Mobs of Trump supporters breached the Capitol moments later during a failed putsch that resulted in the deaths of five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer killed in the attack.

Photographs and video circulated in the aftermath of the insurrection showed multiple people sporting Oath Keepers symbols in and around the Capitol around the time the complex was seized.

The FBI has also shared images of people sought by authorities in connection with storming the Capitol, including one of an unnamed bearded man wearing an Oath Keepers baseball cap. He has since been identified by multiple outlets as Jon Schaffer, a guitarist for heavy metal band Iced Earth. His bandmates subsequently issued a statement that said they neither condone nor support the riot.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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