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.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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