In the week leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio received a nine-page memo titled “1776 Returns” that laid out detailed plans to occupy congressional office buildings to protest the counting of the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election.
The memo, which was filed in court as part of a recent motion made by one of Tarrio’s co-defendants, outlined a goal to “maintain control over as select few, but crucial buildings in the DC area for a set period of time, presenting our demands in unity.”
“We must show our politicians We the People are in charge,” the memo said. Targeted buildings allegedly included the three Senate and House office buildings, the Supreme Court of the United States, and CNN —to “at least egg doorway,” according to the filing.
The demands outlined in the memo included “free and fair elections,” “liberty or death” and “No Trump, No America.”
In “Storm the Winter Palace,” a section marked for internal use and a “Patriot Plan” for outside distribution, the directions called for five teams of individuals per building, ranging from a “covert sleeper” who would spend the day inside the targeted building to a recruiter who would gather a crowd. A group of 50 “patriots” would then occupy each building.
However, nowhere in the document is there a suggestion that violence should be used against police, members of Congress or their staff or other Capitol personnel.
The document includes a page to assign roles for each of the targeted locations and maps of the identified buildings.
Between Jan. 1 – 5, 2021, the memo says, those in charge should recruit members, scope out road closures and set up appointments with various representatives in the buildings.
“Use Covid to your advantage,” the document advised. “Pack huge face masks and face shields, protect your identity.”
On Jan. 6, 2021, “1776 Returns” directed certain individuals known as “leads” to dress in suits and stay inside the targeted buildings to find entrances and exits. Once a sufficient crowd was recruited, the memo suggests, those already inside should open the doors and allow the group to enter.
“This might include causing trouble near the front doors to distract guards who may be holding the doors off,” it said, “The goal is to ensure there is an entry point for the masses to rush the building.”
Participants around the city should pull fire alarms at various locations like Walmart, hotels, and museums to distract law enforcement if necessary, according to the document.
Once inside, the entire group would then present its list of demands and perform sit-ins in certain senators’ offices, the filing says.
The manual advised readers to use large trucks or a large caravan of cars to block intersections to make traversing the city more difficult. “Now is the time to reach out to truckers or bikers for Trump for these roadblocks,” a note reads.
According to the portion of the memo meant for external distribution, participants were to demand a new election be conducted on Jan. 20, 2021, monitored by the National Guard.
“Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Mike Pence & Bill Gates,” it says, “We the people are watching you.
“Rand Paul & Ron DeSantis…We the people love you.”
The existence of the 1776 Returns document was revealed when Tarrio was first indicted earlier this year on conspiracy charges. Prosecutors alleged Tarrio, who has now been charged with seditious conspiracy and pleaded not guilty, was allegedly sent the document by an unknown individual. After sending Tarrio the document, the individual allegedly stated, “The revolution is important than anything,” to which investigators say Tarrio replied, “That’s what every waking moment consists of…I’m not playing games.”
At the same time, Tarrio and other Proud Boys leaders were operating a so-called “Ministry of Self Defense” organization, with Tarrio at the top of the power structure.
“This group was to form the nucleus of leadership in a new chapter of the Proud Boys organization, which Tarrio described as a ‘national rally planning’ chapter. The first event targeted by the group was the rally in D.C. on January 6,” prosecutors allege.
The court filing that the copy of the “1776 Returns” memo accompanied was a request that the judge overseeing the large Proud Boys conspiracy case take another look at the pretrial detention of Tarrio codefendant Zachary Rehl. In the filing, Rehl’s legal team argues the memo “is not a plan to attack the Capitol and does not even mention the Capitol. It refers to occupying Congressional office buildings.”
The recent indictment of Tarrio and other Proud Boy leaders shows that they used 1776 to refer to themselves on Jan. 6. At 2:57 p.m., during the assault on the Capitol, Tarrio posted a message mentioning 1776 that said “Revolutionaries are now at the Rayburn Building,” which the indictment notes was mentioned in the 1776 plan. At 7:44 p.m. one individual sent a text to Tarrio that said, “1776 motherf******.”
Tarrio’s attorney has not responded to a request for comment.
According to Wednesday’s motion, the document was sent to Tarrio by a female acquaintance and not shared with Rehl or other defendants.
“[A] proposal to occupy office buildings is a time-tested protest activity,” Rehl’s legal team pointed out. “There is no indication that the government has ever charged any protestors who have actually occupied buildings with the felony conspiracies charged in the instant case.”
Read the document here: