For the first time, the US Justice Department has provided the key takeaways from last week’s Capitol breach.
According to CNN, officials promise to hold all participants in violation of the law accountable. As for now, the agency is at the beginning of “a long-term investigation,” which will not happen overnight, acting United States Attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters.
Tuesday’s news conference with officials revealed some interesting information.
Officials have opened over 170 subject files on rioters of the Capitol. This includes people that were inside or outside the Capitol grounds. Sherwin predicts this number “to grow to the hundreds in the next couple of weeks.”
The DOJ is also looking at “significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy charges.” Sherwin says the “gamut of cases” and the misconduct being uncovered “is really mind-blowing.” The sedition and conspiracy charges can carry a max prison term of 20 years if the individuals are convicted.
“Their only marching orders,” he said, are to build sedition and conspiracy charges related to “the most heinous acts that occurred in the Capitol.” These are significant felony cases with a prison term of up to 20 years.
The department also wants to investigate rioters who used “open-handed combat” with police officers last Wednesday. Sherwin predicts a more transparent look of what took place amid the riot will “come into laser focus” and believes people will be “shocked with contacts the egregious contact that happened within the Capitol.”
Officials also discovered that the pipe bombs they found outside parties’ headquarters were indeed real. FBI Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono also spoke during Tuesday’s news conference, saying the agency is looking for information about a rioter or rioters who helped plant the pipe bombs outside both the Republican and Democratic National headquarters.
D’Antuono said the bombs were real and had timers. “We don’t know exactly why they didn’t go off,” he added.
The FBI is also considering putting those involved on the federal “no-fly list.”
When asked by CNN’s Evan Pérez about that plan, D’Antuono responded with: “As for the no-fly list, we look at all tools and techniques that we possibly can use within the FBI, and that’s something we are actively looking at.”
Lastly, investigators plan to pinpoint rioters who targeted journalists. “Some people aren’t familiar that some of those rioters specifically targeted members of the media and assaulted them,” he said. So we have assigned specific prosecutors in our office to focus on those cases as well. And I’m naming all these different strike forces to just emphasize regardless of who the victim was, regardless of who the perpetrator was, we’re treating all of these cases equally.”