FBI says it is investigating suspicious devices in Washington amid pro-Trump riots

Supporters of President Donald Trump set off a fire extinguisher after breaching security defenses, as police move in on the demonstrate on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate, in Washington, January 6, 2021.

Mike Theiler | Reuters

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said that it is investigating suspicious devices after reports of improvised explosives on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

“Along with our law enforcement partners, FBI Washington Field Office responded to reports of suspicious devices,” a spokesperson for the bureau said in a statement. “The investigation is ongoing.”

The investigation comes as rioters have flooded the streets of Washington, and infiltrated Congress, to protest the defeat of President Donald Trump by President-elect Joe Biden in November’s election.

The New York Times reported earlier that an explosive device was found at the Republican National Committee headquarters and that the Democratic National Committee headquarters, located nearby, was evacuated, citing three unnamed people who were briefed.

A spokesperson for the GOP said that RNC staff were safely evacuated from the building and that he device was detonated by a bomb squad.

Law enforcement was in the process of destroying improvised explosives on Wednesday afternoon, NBC News reported, but authorities were unsure if the devices were functional. One device resembled a pipe bomb.

Vice President Mike Pence and other senior elected leaders were ushered to safety and the U.S. Capitol Complex was put under lock down after protesters broke past police and stormed the building.

One person who was shot at the Capitol building is in critical condition and at least five have been transported to the hospital, according to D.C. Fire and EMS.

Biden said in an address later in the day that democracy was under “unprecedented assault.”

“It must end now. I call this mob to pull back and allow this work of democracy to go forward,” Biden said.

Lawmakers were meeting to formally announce Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College, which has already certified Biden’s win.

Trump has stoked false rumors of widespread voter fraud and encouraged his supporters to protest the result. After rioting broke out, the president urged his supporters to be peaceful even as he continued to claim victory in the election.

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