WASHINGTON — Almost a week after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, top officials at the FBI and Department of Justice held their first press conference on Tuesday to announce that they are directing prosecutors to issue a slew of sedition and conspiracy charges against pro-Trump rioters.
More than 170 cases have been opened relating to the Jan. 6 insurrection, said Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. He and Steven D’Antuono of the FBI Washington field office said they expect more to follow and are still sifting through more than 100,000 pieces of digital evidence.
Sherwin said some of the crimes prosecutors are charging include anything from trespassing to stealing government property to homicide and aggravated battery. Many of the rioters broke into members’ offices, stealing laptops, mail and a lectern, among other things.
They added that they are also still investigating the planting of pipe bombs outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, whose headquarters are near the Capitol.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” D’Antuono said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray and Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen were not present at the briefing.
Reporters pressed officials, asking them if the U.S. Capitol Police were informed by the FBI that a violent attack was being coordinated on the Capitol. The Washington Post reported that an FBI office in Virginia warned Capitol Police that extremists were planning on traveling to D.C. to commit violent acts and bring “war” to the Capitol on the day lawmakers were scheduled to certify Electoral College votes declaring Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.
D’Antuono said that a great deal of information was shared with the Capitol Police as well as D.C. law enforcement, but he did not specify whether or not the FBI warned Capitol Police officers of a possible riot.
Lawmakers have also raised concerns about the failures and under-preparedness of Capitol Hill police officers.
More than 50 law enforcement officers were taken to the hospital for injuries and one died due to injuries from the mob. Another Capitol Hill police officer, who was on duty that day, died by suicide Saturday.
The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.