U.S. Attorney for the District of Washington, D.C. Michael Sherwin told reporters Thursday that President Trump is among those being investigated for their role in inciting an attack on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that saw a mob of the president’s supporters storm the building.
Sherwin said his office is looking at “all actors here, not only the people that went into the building,” including “others that maybe assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role in this,” the Washington Post reported.
Asked by reporters if Trump is being investigated, Sherwin reiterated that investigators are “looking at all actors here,” stating, “anyone that had a role, if the evidence fits the element of a crime, they’re going to be charged.”
Shortly before his supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump delivered a speech to the mob regurgitating the false claims of voter fraud that fueled them and urging them to “fight like hell,” because, if they don’t, “you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
The president also instructed the crowd to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” and go to the Capitol to “give our Republicans, the weak ones… the boldness they need to take back our country,” falsely promising he would “be there with you.”
Trump tweeted numerous times during the attack, initially calling for Pence to overturn the election before making various statements advocating peace but also reiterating his false claims of a stolen election.
Trump was warned by White House counsel Pat Cipollone that he could have legal exposure related to the attack, according to the New York Times.
Others who could come under scrutiny are Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who called for a “trial by combat” during a speech to the crowd, and first son Donald Trump Jr., who said Republicans in Congress “better fight for Trump, because if they’re not… I’m gonna be in your backyard in a couple months.”
What To Watch For
Sherwin said prosecutors plan to prioritize those perpetrators of destructive or violent acts at the Capitol – who he called “the closest alligators to the boat” – and said the Department of Justice and FBI are expediently pursuing cases against and charging rioters.
Sherwin took aim at the Capitol Police for not detaining more of the rioters as they left the Capitol. “It appears they were not apprehended or zip-tied by the police,” he said, insisting that it “made our job difficult” by forcing investigators to gather video footage and phone records to identify people.