FBI describes large probe into deadly Capitol riot

FBI investigators are combing through more than 100,000 pieces of digital evidence as part of their investigation into last week’s deadly U.S. Capitol riot, and are looking to determine if the horde planned on taking lawmakers hostage, authorities said Tuesday afternoon at a joint press conference between the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), The New York Post reports.

This mind-boggling amount of evidence is only the beginning to a wide-reaching probe that is expected to result in hundreds of alleged rioters facing criminal charges, FBI and DOJ officials pledged.

“I want to stress that the FBI has a long memory and a broad reach,” said Steven D’Antuono, assistant director of the FBI’s Washington, D.C. field office. “Even if you’ve left DC, agents from our local field offices will be knocking on your door if we find out that you’re part of the criminal activity at the Capitol.”

The riot took place the same day Congress was set to certify the states’ Electoral College votes and President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. As the vote was happening, rioters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol to prevent that, attacked Capitol Police officers, and defaced and stole property.

D’Antuono noted that the bureau, in spite of how recently the riot occurred, has already put together a huge case backed by tons of evidence. Much of this evidence was provided by the public.

“We have opened over 160 case files, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “This is a 24/7, full-bore investigation into what happened that day.

“We cannot do our job without the help of the American people,” D’Antuono continued. “Since our call for tips, videos and pictures, we have received more than 100,000 pieces of digital media—which is absolutely fantastic—and we are scouring every one for investigative and intelligence leads.”

Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., similarly expressed that the work has only just started.

“We’ve already charged over 70 cases, and again that number I suspect is going to grow into the hundreds,” Sherwin said.

Want more details on this story? Read the full original report on the press conference by The New York Post here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.