- Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, said Tuesday that the FBI and the Justice Department were looking into “significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy” after the Capitol riot.
- The “scope and scale” of the Capitol-riot investigation is unprecedented in FBI and DOJ history, Sherwin said at a press conference.
- He added that his office had opened more than 170 subject files so far and charged 70 cases but that prosecutors expected that number to “grow into the hundreds.”
- Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s field office in Washington, DC, said the bureau had opened over 160 case files. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said, adding that FBI agents had received more than 100,000 “pieces of digital media” to investigate.
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The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating an unprecedented number of cases and range of criminal conduct after last week’s deadly riot at the US Capitol, officials said Tuesday.
Investigators are focusing on “significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, said at a news conference. He added that prosecutors were looking into cases involving weapons and destructive devices and cases that involved attacks on law-enforcement officials and journalists.
Steve D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the bureau’s field office in Washington, DC, said the office had opened over 160 case files. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said, adding that agents had received over 100,000 “pieces of digital media” and were “scouring every one for investigative and intelligence leads.”
Sherwin said the “scope and scale” of the Capitol-riot investigation was unprecedented in FBI and DOJ history.
“The Capitol grounds, outside and inside, are essentially a crime scene,” Sherwin said. He added that there were “thousands of potential witnesses” and “hundreds” of cases that could arise as a result.
“We’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy” pic.twitter.com/LsbMWAgXK1
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 12, 2021
The US attorney’s office in DC has opened more than 170 subject files, Sherwin said, “meaning these individuals have been identified as potential persons that committed crimes on the Capitol grounds, inside and outside.” Of those cases, it has charged more than 70, and that number may “grow into the hundreds,” Sherwin said.
He said the range of criminal conduct resulting from the riot was “unmatched” by anything else the FBI and the DOJ had investigated. He said charges could include trespassing, theft of mail, theft of digital devices inside the Capitol, assault on local and federal officers, theft of national security or national defence information, felony murder, and more.
“The gamut of cases and criminal conduct we’re looking at is really mind-blowing,” he added.
CBS News’ Catherine Herridge later asked whether the FBI or the DOJ had any information about pipe bombs that were found outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee and whether the devices were planted to draw law enforcement away from the Capitol or to maim lawmakers as they evacuated the building.
Sherwin said the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department, were still investigating.
“What was the purpose of those devices being planted? Was it a diversionary type of a tactic used by some of these rioters? Or did it have some other type of nefarious purpose? So that is what the ATF, the FBI, MPD are looking at as we speak,” he said.
Last week’s Capitol insurrection sent shockwaves through the nation and resulted in five deaths, including a US Capitol Police officer who died from injuries sustained as Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher.
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