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Federal agents arrest 'Oath Keepers' leader for U.S. Capitol attack

An American flag is seen at the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, a day before the 59th Presidential Inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo by Susan Walsh/UPI/Pool
An American flag is seen at the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, a day before the 59th Presidential Inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo by Susan Walsh/UPI/Pool | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged the leader of an anti-government militia group with conspiracy and obstruction of official proceedings stemming from the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol this month.

Prosecutors say Thomas Edward Caldwell was involved in "planning and coordinating" the break-in at the Capitol two weeks ago.

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Authorities say Caldwell, 65, of Virginia, is the leader of the militia group the Oath Keepers.

Caldwell was taken into custody early Tuesday. He is also charged with entering a restricted building and violent entry or disorderly conduct, the Justice Department said.

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According to court documents, Caldwell bragged in a Facebook post on Jan. 6, the day of the attack, about his involvement. He wrote, "I am such an instigator."

Another post purportedly from Caldwell appeared to give instructions as to where fellow Oath Keepers could organize.

The Oath Keepers is a group that recruits primarily current and retired military members and law enforcement.

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Authorities arrested suspected Oath Keepers member Jessica Watkins in Ohio last weekend after she was photographed entering the Capitol dressed in military clothing.

So far, dozens of people have been arrested and charged in relation to the Capitol attack. Security is heavy in Washington, D.C., to safeguard Wednesday's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

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CNN reported Tuesday that Defense Department officials have removed two Army National Guard members from the security detail after it was discovered that they had ties to far-right extremist groups.

"Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration," a National Guard spokesman said.

Preparing for inauguration of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris

Preparations continue at the National Mall ahead of the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., on January 19. Pool Photo by Susan Walsh/UPI | License Photo

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