FBI Provides Updates on Capitol Attack

DC U.S. attorney Michael Sherwin and head of Washington FBI Field office Steven D’Antuono speak during the Jan. 12 press conference.

In the wake of Wednesday’s Capitol insurrection, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) broke the nearly week-long silence Jan. 12 with their first press conference since the attack.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Michael Sherwin, the US Attorney for the District of Columbia and Steven D’Antuono, the head of the FBI Washington Field Office, spoke to reporters about the event, their response and future investigation plans.  

D’Antuono reported that more than 70 people involved with the Capitol insurrection that claimed the lives of five people had been charged with crimes and that more than 170 people are believed to have committed a crime on Capitol grounds. Sherwin said that he anticipates the number of individuals charged and the number of people suspected to have committed crimes will both grow into the hundreds over the next several weeks. 

D’Antuono said that the FBI is prepared and capable to hold all involved responsible for their actions.  

“The FBI is quite familiar with large scale complex and fast moving investigations,” D’Antuono said. “We are up to the challenge.” 

The agency has reportedly received more than 100,000 photos and videos of the attack and plans to pursue all individuals who were involved through coordination with their 56 field offices nationwide. 

D’Antuono encouraged participants in the riot to come forward, but stated that even those individuals who have left the region will be found.  

“Even if you’ve left DC, agents from our local field offices will be knocking on your door if we find out that you are part of the criminal activity at the Capitol,” D’Antuono said. 

Sherwin spoke about the events calling the scope and the scale of the investigation “unprecedented.” He said that many of the initial charges were misdemeanors because they were the quickest charges to enact but to note that the charges for many individuals would grow with time. 

“This is only the beginning,” Sherwin said. “After these criminal charges are filed via criminal complaints, it allows us and it allows law enforcement across the United States to arrest people from Dallas to Arkansas to Nashville to Cleveland to Jacksonville. That’s what’s happened over the past several days.”

Early Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Post reported that the FBI was warned about the attack in a document that threatened the Capitol and called for the mob to come “ready to fight.” This contradicts prior claims that the demonstrators posed no threat or danger of violence. 

D’Antuono commented on the information received before the assault on the Capitol and stated that they received “a lot of intelligence” which was shared with the “very robust” DC Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). 

Anyone with information from Jan. 6 is encouraged to call (1-800-CALL-FBI) or visit (fbi.gov) to submit tips or digital media as the FBI continues their investigation.

Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at sarahp@hillrag.com.