“A top lieutenant of the Proud Boys’ chairman, Enrique Tarrio, described on Wednesday a growing desperation among the group’s leaders as Jan. 6, 2021, approached and then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results sputtered.
That’s when the group’s thoughts turned to “all-out revolution,” according to Jeremy Bertino, the Justice Department’s star witness in the seditious conspiracy trial of Tarrio and four other Proud Boys leaders, who are charged with orchestrating a violent attempt to derail the transfer of power from Trump to Joe Biden.
Bertino, who pleaded guilty to his own seditious conspiracy charge last year, gave jurors an insider’s view of the Proud Boys’ leadership as Jan. 6 approached and the group became increasingly convinced that the Biden presidency posed an existential threat. Those views, prodded along at times by Trump’s own efforts to subvert his defeat, intensified after Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4, 2021, upon arriving in Washington.
Now, the group’s leaders — Tarrio and Joe Biggs of Florida, Ethan Nordean of Seattle, Zachary Rehl of Philadelphia and Dominic Pezzola of New York — are facing the gravest charges to emerge from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.”
““I thought I was watching history,” Bertino recalled. “I thought it was historical. I thought it was a revolution starting.”
When one member of the group informed others that then-Vice President Mike Pence had resisted Trump’s entreaties to overturn the election on his own, Bertino assured them: “Don’t worry, boys. America’s taking care of it right now.”
Bertino’s jubilance turned into fury after Trump told rioters to go home and law enforcement cleared the Capitol.
“We failed,” he told other Proud Boys in various Telegram chats, after Congress had returned to continue certifying Biden’s victory. He lamented that the rioters caused mayhem simply to “take selfies in Pelosi’s office.”
That sentiment continued into Jan. 7.”
“Bertino also clarified an odd text to Tarrio that read “They need to get peloton.” It was an autocorrect for Pelosi, Bertino said.
“She was the target, as far as the one who had been pushing the information [about the election],” Bertino recalled thinking. “She was the talking head of the opposition. And they needed to remove her from power.””