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Coloradan and former Oath Keeper spokesman testifies Jan. 6 violence could have been much worse

Jason Van Tatenhove told the Jan. 6 Committee he fears for the next election.

DENVER — A former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers who testified about the far-right militia group in front of the House Jan. 6 Committee is from Colorado.

Jason Van Tatenhove lives in Estes Park. He did not work with the Oath Keepers at the time of the 2021 insurrection, as he ended his relationship with the group in 2017, NBC reported. Van Tatenhove decided to leave after hearing members say the Holocaust was not real.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Van Tatenhove warned the extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol prepared for more violence than what unfolded on the day Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

"I think we need to quit mincing words and just talk about truths, and what it was going to be was an armed revolution," Van Tatenhove said. "I mean, people died that day. Law enforcement officers died this day. There was a gallows set up in front of the Capitol. This could have been the spark that started a new civil war." 

He also said he believed the Oath Keepers' involvement in the insurrection gave their founder, Stewart Rhodes, a sense of legitimacy.

"He had these grand versions of being a paramilitary leader," Van Tatenhove said. "The fact that [President Donald Trump] was communicating, whether directly or indirectly, messaging -- that gave him the nod. All I can do is thank the gods that things did not go any worse."

Van Tatenhove went on to tell Congressional investigators he's worried right-wing militias are preparing for the next election.

"I do fear for this next election cycle because who knows what that might bring?" he said. "If a president that's willing to try to instill and encourage to whip up a civil war amongst his followers, using lies, and deceit, and snake oil -- and regardless of the human impact. What else is he going to do if he gets elected again?"

Today, Van Tatenhove runs the Colorado Switchblade, a podcast described as covering Colorado culture, arts and music, and features editorials and news coverage.

Tuesday's testimony also covered a meeting after the election where Trump attorney and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell pushed the fiction that Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems switched votes. That meeting spurred the President's call for his supporters to assemble on Jan. 6, promising it "will be wild."

RELATED: Jan. 6 panel probes Trump's 'siren call' to extremists

RELATED: Cheney: Trump attempted to contact Jan. 6 witness

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