Federal law enforcement officials are examining communications between insurrectionists and members of Congress to determine whether lawmakers aided members of the mob who attacked the Capitol on January 6th, according to CNN.
Investigators want to know “whether lawmakers wittingly or unwittingly helped the insurrectionists,” a US official briefed on the matter told CNN, and so far they have gathered data that includes “indications of contact” between “alleged rioters discussing their associations with members of Congress.” More than two dozen prosecutors are assigned to help the effort.
So far investigators are not yet targeting any individual member of Congress, and they have not issued any warrants. But they are still gathering communications, including cell phone data for people to help identify people in the Capitol during the attack who were not authorized to be there.
Thursday’s news confirms The Intercept’s reporting from last month that some members of Congress communicated with members of the mob surrounding the day of the attack. It’s important to note, though, that the official stipulated that even if such communications exist, it is not necessarily proof of wrongdoing by lawmakers or their staff.
Democrats in Congress have also alleged that Republicans assisted the insurrectionists. The week following the riot, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) said on Facebook Live that she saw Republican lawmakers giving tours to “groups” the day before the attack. She described the tours as “a reconnaissance for the next day.”
Sherrill signed a letter along with other Democrats saying they saw “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors” on January 5th and that staff and elected officials “witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups” visiting despite restrictions on visitor access due to the pandemic.
And even though the January 6th insurrection is over, the threat is not gone. The House of Representatives canceled plans for a Thursday session this week because of what they described as a “possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group.” The Senate did meet as planned, though, where Kamala Harris broke a tie to open debate on the coronavirus relief bill.