The federal prosecutor who oversaw the Justice Department’s investigation into a Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol said that some rioters may be charged with attempting to overthrow the government.
Michael Sherwin appeared on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, two days after he stepped down from leading the investigation into the riot. He left open if former President Donald Trump is expected to face charges related to the riot. Earlier this month, Sherwin stepped back from his post as acting U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., for a replacement picked by the Biden administration.
Sherwin told “60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley that from what the he saw leading the investigation, he expects at least some of the rioters arrested following the storming of the Capitol to be charged with sedition.
“I personally believe the evidence is trending toward that, and probably meets those elements,” Sherwin said. “I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.”
Sherwin said that Trump may face charges related to the Jan. 6 riot. Trump gave a speech the day of the riot to a crowd of supporters, pushing them to march “over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
“It’s unequivocal that Trump was the magnet that brought the people to D.C. on the 6th. Now the question is, is he criminally culpable for everything that happened during the siege, during the breach?” Sherwin said. “What I could tell you is this, based upon, again, what we see in the public record. And what we see in public statements in court. We have plenty of people – we have soccer moms from Ohio that were arrested saying, ‘Well, I did this because my president said I had to take back our house.’ That moves the needle towards that direction.”
“Maybe the president is culpable for those actions. But also, you see in the public record, too, militia members saying, ‘You know what? We did this because Trump just talks a big game. He’s just all talk. We did what he wouldn’t do,’” the prosecutor added.
Sherwin noted that more than 400 suspects have been charged with riot-related crimes since Jan. 6.
“The bulk of those cases are federal criminal charges, and significant federal felony charges. Five, 10, 20-year penalties. Of those 400 cases, the majority of those, 80, 85%, maybe even 90, you have individuals, both inside and outside the Capitol, that breached the Capitol, trespassed,” Sherwin said. “You also have individuals, roughly over 100, that we’ve charged with assaulting federal officers and local police officers. The 10% of the cases, I’ll call the more complex conspiracy cases where we do have evidence, it’s in the public record where individual militia groups from different facets: Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, Proud Boys, did have a plan.”
Fencing and National Guard soldiers have surrounded the Capitol since the riot on Jan. 6. Democratic lawmakers have argued that the heavy security is necessary to prevent another attack on the Capitol while many Republicans have criticized the measures as political theater. Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida have ordered their National Guard troops to return to their states.