Certain things stick with me about the January 6 insurrection. For example, I remember that an anonymous Senate staffer was praised for having the wherewithal to go back into the Senate chamber when everyone else was fleeing the mob, and rescue the boxes containing the Electoral College votes.
With insurrection at the door, one woman’s thoughts turned to the mahogany and leather boxes in the Senate chamber. The three boxes contained the votes — the very documents that had drawn a mob into the nation’s Capitol during a violent assault on democracy Wednesday afternoon.
The woman, a Senate aide who The 19th is not naming for safety reasons, was the one who directed staffers to gather the 18-inch by 10-inch boxes and transport the votes to a secure location while President Donald Trump supporters incited a riot within the building, sending senators, representatives, aides, interns and reporters to seek shelter while offices were ransacked.
…“One of the staff members was very quick thinking and was able to grab and secure the electoral college ballots and take them with her to this location, so we have them with us and we will be able to proceed as long as Mitch McConnell calls us back into session,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth told CBS Evening News Wednesday afternoon.
This was the first thing I thought of when I learned that the Oath Keepers were seeking to protect Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas during the storming of the Capitol because he supposedly had “critical data to protect.”
Jackson, the former chief medical officer for Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, had only been seated in Congress on January 3rd. He was best known for his failed bid to become the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs during the Trump administration–a nomination that was derailed by allegations that Jackson was created a hostile work environment, was frequently drunk on the job, and improperly dispensed prescription medication.
He’d grown close to Trump after vouching for president’s good health, stating that he had “incredibly good genes” and with a better diet might live to be two hundred years old. During Jackson’s campaign for Congress, he accused Joe Biden and the Deep State of spying on Trump, and on January 6 he objected to the certification of the votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
With this background and relationship with Trump, the newly minted congressman would be a natural ally in any plot to seize the Electoral College ballots during the confusion after members of Congress fled. It’s only a theory, but you tell me whether it’s plausible. According to Politico, Jackson was one of the last members of the House to seek safety. Meanwhile, Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes, who is under arrest for seditious conspiracy, was offering his cell phone to Jackson in an effort to protect his “critical data.”
Jackson notably remained on the House floor during the attack and was one of the last lawmakers to leave the chamber during the evacuation. The leaders of the Oath Keepers, including founder Stewart Rhodes, are facing the gravest criminal charges to emerge from the Jan. 6 attack. Rhodes and 10 others are charged with seditious conspiracy.
Oath Keeper chatter: Questions about Jackson’s potential contacts with the extremist group arose late Monday, when
a trove of text messages among the group’s leaders were filed on the docket in their criminal case by Ed Vallejo, one of the defendants.
“Dr. Ronnie Jackson – on the move. Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to protect,” one unidentified member of the Oath Keepers group text said at 3:08 p.m.“Help with what?” Rhodes replied. “Give him my cell.
What’s clear is that, as the riot was unfolding, someone told an Oath Keeper that Jackson needed special protection because he had (or was expected to have) important information in his possession. Jackson was in the middle of his fourth day as a congressman, and would not ordinarily be considered an important member. But as a close ally of the president who had no established ties the institution of Congress or other members, he’d be a logical person to approach for a reckless job like stealing the official election certificates.
I’m probably off here. There was most likely some other kind of information in his possession that needed protection. Maybe a list of co-conspirators with incriminating contact information. It appears he was part of the plot to steal the election and had some designated role to play, but he’s not answering questions.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) said Tuesday he has never spoken to the leaders of the Oath Keepers despite newly revealed text messages showing that the group discussed contacting and protecting him during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“Like many public figures, Rep. Jackson is frequently talked about by people he does not know,” a spokesman for the Texas freshman said. “He does not know nor has he ever spoken to the people in question.”
Still, we should keep asking them.