Federal investigators are probing communications between MAGA rioters and members of Congress, following allegations of pre-Jan. 6 House ‘reconnaissance’ tours
- Investigators have charged more than 300 people in connection with the Capitol riot
- They have identified communications between some and lawmakers
- Others have been revealed to have discussed reaching out to lawmakers
- Riot occurred the day Congress met to count the electoral votes
- Group of Democrats accused unnamed Republicans of leading ‘reconnaissance’ tours before Jan. 6
- One lawmaker, Rep. Pete Sessions, deleted tweet about a ‘great meeting’ with ‘folks from “Stop the Steal” at our nation’s Capitol’ before Jan. 6
Federal investigators probing the Jan. 6th Capitol riot have identified communications links between alleged rioters and members of Congress.
Investigators have made more than 250 arrests of rioters, and have mopped up tens of thousands of tips as they try to untangle who was there and what coordination occurred in advance.
Charging documents to date have revealed numerous instances where authorities gained evidence from alleged rioters electronic devices and online postings. Upon reviewing such devices, law enforcement have uncovered ‘some indications that they were in touch’ with members of Congress, CNN reported Thursday.
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors. Federal investigators are probing communications between alleged rioters and members of Congress
Some of those contacts took place in the days around Jan. 6th, when Congress met to count the electoral college votes that made Joe Biden president.
The data includes both actual communications contacts and alleged rioters discussing associations with lawmakers, according to the network. They could seek to gain more information if they find probable cause that a crime may have occurred.
Such contacts would not necessarily be improper. One lawmaker, Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), who voted to impeach President Trump on charges of incitement of insurrection, said on air that he received a call from someone during the protests and that there was nothing inappropriate about it.
One House Republican, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, posted and then deleted a Tweet about meeting with people who came to Washington for what was billed as a protest on Jan. 6th.
‘Had a great meeting today with folks from “Stop the Steal” at our nation’s Capitol. I encouraged them to keep fighting and assured them I look forward to doing MY duty on January 6th,” he wrote.
There were tens of thousands of people at the White House and the Capitol protests, according to the acting head of Capitol Police.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has denied leading a Capitol ‘reconnaissance’ tour after a Democrat raised the issue without specifically naming her
FBI Director Chris Wray said this week the Capitol riot was a form of ‘domestic terrorism’
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah pressed Wray during testimony about civil liberties issues as investigators go after rioters
Some Democratic lawmakers have already raised suspicions about some of their colleagues, charging that they led Capitol ‘tours.’
The House Democrats, led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (N.J.), have written Capitol Police demanding the identities of people who toured Capitol facilities the day before the riot.
One Republican, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) has specifically denied leading such a tour.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah pressed FBI Director Chris Wray about civil liberties concerns when he testified about the massive investigation of the riots.
‘I’m anxious to see those who committed unlawful, violent acts on Jan. 6 brought to justice,” Lee said. ‘I also believe that with this circumstance, like every other circumstance, we have to make sure that civil liberties of the American people are protected, that we watch over them.’
Lee and others pressed him on whether the government was using information based off information gleaned from cell phone hits to determine who was around the Capitol on January 6th.
Wray this week told senators the riots were a form of ‘domestic terrorism.’ The government has filed some superseding indictments as it probes conspiracy charges and looks for coordination among militants in addition to mopping up people who trespassed when a mob stormed the Capitol.
‘There were clearly some individuals involved, which I would consider the most dangerous … who did have plans and intentions and some level of coordination,’ Wray said.
‘Certainly the Capitol attack involved violence extremists,’ Wray said, calling it ‘a form of domestic terrorism.’
Law enforcement must state within guardrails when probing lawmakers due to separation of powers issues, and some convictions have been thrown out