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Updated January 23rd, 2021 at 11:59 IST

US Capitol siege: FBI investigates rioters with focus on 'extremist groups'

After charging 125 people of being part of the violent US Capitol mob, the FBI is now investigating connections between the rioters and extremist groups.

Reported by: Bhavya Sukheja
Edited by: Bhavya Sukheja
US Capitol
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After bringing federal charges against more than 125 people accused of being part of the violent mob that stormed the US Capitol, the FBI is now investigating connections between the rioters and far-right extremist groups. According to CNN, the extremist groups aren’t just suspected of taking part in the insurrection, but the federal officials are also investigating to what extent they planned in ahead of time. The effort by the officials is expected to take months because unlike some of the early arrests of suspects, who gleefully posted on social media, many alleged attackers took pains to hide their identities and their involvement. 

The officials have said that hundreds of more arrests are still expected. They have also informed that in detention hearings they are working on bringing seditious conspiracy charges. The Associated Press has reviewed public recordings and found that the mob included GOP donors, members of far-right militia and supporters of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. 

The prospect of conspiracy charges has already been raised publicly by Washington DC’s acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin. However, with a new administration now running the Justice Department, taking such a major step on a rarely used law would likely require sign-off from the new Biden administration offices at Justice headquarters. For now, the department is led by acting AG Monty Wilkinson and acting Deputy AG John Carlin. 

READ: Capitol Police Questioned Anew After Guard Forced To Garages

READ: Feds: Man In Capitol Attack Tried To Flee To Switzerland

Conspiracy charges 

It is unclear whether they would want to be the ones to sign off on sedition charges, with Senate confirmation likely still weeks away for Judge Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco, newly minted President’s picks for the top two jobs. If the department officials decide to wait for Garland to arrive, it could slow the work underway. It is worth noting that the Civil War-era law brings up to 20-year penalties for plotting to overthrow the US government and to use force to oppose US government authority or to delay the execution of a law. 

On January 6 afternoon, thousands of Trump supporters broke barricades outside Capitol Hill and marched into the building, scaling walls using scaffolding and breaking windows to gain entry. Inside, rioters tried to push through doors, fought with police, and generally invaded and defiled the premises. As per reports, at least five people lost their lives including a police officer. 

(Image Credit: Associated Press) 

READ: Va Senator Who Defended Capitol Rioters Faces Censure Effort

READ: Florida Authorities Arrest Man After Capitol Bomb Threat

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Published January 23rd, 2021 at 11:59 IST

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