News and Commentary

Report: Feds Have Opened 25 ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Investigations Over Capitol Attack
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Federal law enforcement officials have opened at least 25 “domestic terrorism” investigations stemming from last Wednesday’s attack on the United States Capitol, according to Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who says he received the information from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

Dozens of people have already been arrested and charged for their role in Wednesday’s riot, which saw supporters of President Donald Trump charge the U.S. Capitol building, ravage offices and chambers, and threaten lawmakers inside. At least 5 people were killed in the melee, including one pro-Trump protester, who was reportedly shot by Capitol Police as she climbed through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby, and a Capitol Police officer who was wounded in the line of duty.

According to Crow, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, McCarthy and others believe elements of the attack were coordinated and that many of those who breached the Capitol building were armed for combat. Crow “said McCarthy relayed the [25 investigations] figure in a phone call Sunday and told him that long guns, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices, and zip ties were all recovered by authorities as a wide-ranging investigation unfurls.”

Crow also reported that McCarthy “indicated that DOD is aware of further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists in the days up to and including Inauguration Day and is working with local and federal law enforcement to coordinate security preparations” and that McCarthy and others believe ex-members of the military may have been involved in planning the incursion.

The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies have put out wide-ranging calls for information relating both to the attack itself and to a number of individuals seen in social media footage during the assault. Over the weekend, agents arrested several dozen individuals suspected of having a role in breaching the U.S. Capitol Building and threatening lawmakers.

So far, though, most of the individuals arrested have been charged with lower-level offenses, compared to “domestic terrorism,” up to and including “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority,” and “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds,” per The New York Times. At least one individual arrested is facing charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one is facing a federal gun charge.

The Associated Press reported Monday that elements of the attack appeared coordinated. “Thousands had swarmed the Capitol,” the outlet said. “They charged into police and metal barricades outside the building, shoving and hitting officers in their way. The assault quickly pushed through the vastly outnumbered police line; officers ran down one man and pummeled him.”

Capitol Police officers tangled with attackers for nearly two hours, according to another report from Buzzfeed News, before they were overrun. House and Senate lawmakers and their staffs hid for more than two and a half hours as police, and then reinforcements from federal law enforcement worked to clear the building.

“Heavily armed officers brought in as reinforcements started using tear gas in a coordinated fashion to get people moving toward the door, then combed the halls for stragglers. As darkness fell, they pushed the mob farther out onto the plaza and lawn, using officers in riot gear in full shields and clouds of tear gas, flash-bangs, and percussion grenades,” AP noted.

Law enforcement officials are preparing for further attacks. In a memo issued to lawmakers Friday, Capitol Police and the United States Air Marshals warned Members of Congress to employ security details and notify federal agencies of any travel.