Investigation into Capitol attack is unprecedented in scope, Justice Department says

But while the FBI has opened more than 160 files in six days since Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, officials acknowledged Tuesday that the evidence collected so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

People will be shocked by some of the blatant contacts that have taken place on Capitol Hill, said acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin in connection with the attacks on federal and county police officers.

So an image is built up. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what happened on Capitol Hill, and that’s going to focus on the laser, I think, in the coming weeks and days, he added.

At the same time, representatives from the FBI and the Department of Justice sought to assure the American public on Tuesday that they are up to the task on both fronts during a press conference that also revealed the magnitude of the problem currently facing law enforcement agencies involved in both initiatives.

The FBI is used to large and complex investigations … we’re ready for it, says Steven D’Antuono, deputy director of the FBI in Washington.

Sherwin echoed this sentiment, telling reporters that the scope and scale of this investigation into these matters is truly unprecedented, not only in the history of the FBI, but probably in the history of the DOJ, where the grounds of the capital outside and inside are essentially crime scenes.

He added that this problem will not be solved in the coming months.

Absence of FBI Director from Briefing

FBI Director Christopher Wray did not attend the press conference, the first organized by law enforcement since the attack nearly a week ago.

His absence has sparked questions about how seriously the Trump administration is taking the incident, especially after the president stated earlier on Tuesday that he does not believe he is responsible for the attack on his supporters.

Nonetheless, current officials vowed Tuesday to leave no stone unturned in the investigation of the Capitol Hill terrorist attacks.

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They also pointed out that investigators have already filed charges in 70 cases, and Sherwin said he expects that number to rise to hundreds, and that those already arrested could face even more serious crimes.

The numbers are going to increase geometrically, Sherwin said.

According to Sherwin, he directed his prosecutors to handle the major sedition, conspiracy and riot cases.

The FBI is also monitoring people’s money, travel records, movements and communications, as well as public tips and photos from last Wednesday’s incident.

Deep concern about the continuing violent threats to our democracy

Following Tuesday’s press conference, Democratic leaders of the House’s five oversight committees issued a joint statement expressing deep concern about the current violent threats to our democracy.

It is clear that more must be done in the coming days to prevent, infiltrate and disrupt the deadly and incendiary attacks by violent domestic extremists.

House lawmakers applauded officials at the FBI and DOJ for pushing for the prosecution of all involved in the attack, but they made it clear that this promise was a good first step.

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, said Trump bears some responsibility for what happened on the 6th. January has arrived.

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If our nation suffers further violence and destruction at the hands of its supporters in Washington and in state capitals across the country, and if he does not speak out directly and unequivocally now that the threats are known, he will be held accountable, Portman said.

Discussion is currently out of hand

Portman’s comments reflect a growing concern among law enforcement officials in recent days that the success of violent crowds in infiltrating Capitol Hill has increased the likelihood of attacks because people may be encouraged to commit violent acts.

An official said that rumors are circulating.

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This extensive investigation, involving all 50 states to varying degrees, is unprecedented, even compared to the investigation that followed the attacks in 11 countries. September 2001. Federal investigators grapple with the problem of domestic radicalization, which is complicated by First Amendment protection of political discourse, as opposed to radicalization associated with foreign terrorist groups.

Some of the information shared by the FBI, ATF and other agencies before last week’s attack has taken on new meaning, prompting federal investigators to look for individuals who were already on their radar and had raised concerns about the violence. Most online threats on social media and other forums are considered intentional, but the FBI and other agencies are now taking them more seriously, officials said.

Some of them took place before the Jan. 6 rally, federal officials said. The FBI worked with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department to arrest the leader of the Pride Boys a few days before Trump’s rally on a relatively minor charge, and then charged him with additional charges when they found him in possession of magazines containing prominent ammunition, which are illegal in the city. Prosecutors have been monitoring the hotels where some of the visitors stayed.

However, some affected groups have tried to avoid detection. On the day of the rally, members of the Proud Boys stepped out of their usual yellow and black clothes and donned orange hats. They were spotted in front of the Capitol coordinating their march to the building, according to a federal law enforcement official and video footage from the day.

D’Antuono also said officers were still investigating whether the 6th Street rioters were the ones who killed him. Janvier wanted to take some congressmen hostage.

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He said the FBI was looking for information on the person or persons who helped plant IEDs outside Republican and Democratic headquarters last week.

He said the bombs were real and had a time-delayed fuse. We don’t know exactly why they didn’t leave, he added.

Rebel shocks

Meanwhile, Sherwin said national security and public corruption prosecutors staged a strike Monday at the District Attorney’s Office in Columbia to pursue sedition and conspiracy cases. Prosecutors also worked all day Monday with a federal grand jury to prepare indictments.

Just yesterday, our office organized a strike by national security prosecutors and anti-corruption prosecutors. According to Sherwin, the only orders she gets from me are sedition and conspiracy related to the most heinous acts that have taken place on Capitol Hill, and these are substantive charges that carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

He said the grand jury in Washington is busy all day, allowing prosecutors to present important cases for indictment.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.

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