Federal law enforcement officials reportedly think “there was no grand scheme” behind the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill breach, but House investigators still appear convinced that there was a conspiracy involving individuals linked to former President Donald Trump.
Earlier this year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appointed Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) as chairman of the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, to investigate “the facts and causes of the terrorist mob attack.”
In announcing the panel, Pelosi told the House during a floor speech that the Jan. 6 attackers “were out to get me for the bullet in the head or to hang the vice president of the United States, assault the lives of members of Congress, traumatize our staff, disrespect the workers in the Capitol.”
More than 500 people have been arrested and charged on multiple felony counts in connection with the breach, including many individuals who remain jailed with tight security restrictions in the District of Columbia, awaiting trials that aren’t expected to begin until 2022.
Dozens of those charged are accused of conspiring beforehand to cause a riot and prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Many of Trump’s most fervent supporters believe his reelection victory was stolen on behalf of President Joe Biden.
To date, only a handful of the defendants have reached deals with Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors for lighter sentences in return for cooperation with law enforcement.
But Reuters reported on Aug. 20 that, after months of reviewing testimony from participants and Capitol Hill police, as well as thousands of hours of videos of the attack, FBI officials see no evidence of a sinister conspiracy behind the events that led to the arrests and detentions.
“Ninety to 95 percent of these are one-off cases. Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages,” Reuters reported, quoting an unnamed law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the FBI conclusions.
Reuters went on to report: “Senior lawmakers have been briefed in detail on the results of the FBI’s investigation so far and find them credible, a Democratic congressional source said.”
Asked on Aug. 26 by The Epoch Times if the reported FBI conclusion had influenced the investigative work plan of the select panel, a spokesman for the panel said that both the FBI and the committee are still looking into the incident.
“Federal law enforcement investigations into the Jan. 6 attack are ongoing and, as far as the select committee is aware, the findings and direction have not been shared with Capitol Hill,” the spokesman said. “Our members and investigators are seeking answers, and we won’t prejudge anything until we’ve uncovered the facts about Jan. 6.”
On Aug. 25, Thompson announced a massive request for documents related to “communications within and among the White House and Executive Branch agencies during the leadup to January 6th and on that day; attempts to place politically loyal personnel in senior positions across government after the election; the planning, organization, funding, and response to events in Washington, D.C. on January 5th and 6th and earlier; and attempts to subvert the rule of law, overturn the results of the November 3rd, 2020, election, or impede the peaceful transfer of power,” according to a summary posted by the select panel.
The request was made in letters to seven federal departments and agencies.
The request to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) sought “Executive Branch records pertaining to strategies and plans to derail the Electoral College vote count; planning for and coordination of the rallies leading up to January 6th; the former President’s knowledge of the election results and what he communicated to the American people about the election; potential plans to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and challenge the validity of the 2020 election.”
The request to the DOJ asked for “records pertaining to potential invocation of the Insurrection Act, martial law, or the 25th Amendment; communications between the department and the former President’s campaign legal team and others dealing with the validity of the 2020 election or challenges to the election’s outcome.”
Thompson’s requests were also sent to the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In a related development on Aug. 26, seven Capitol Hill police officers filed a lawsuit naming Trump, Trump ally Roger Stone, and various far-right groups, claiming they were responsible for the events on Jan. 6.
“As this lawsuit makes clear, the Jan. 6 insurrection was not just an attack on individuals, but an attack on democracy itself. It was a blatant attempt to stifle the votes and voices of millions of Americans, particularly Black voters,” Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCUL) said in a statement.
The LCCUL represents the seven officers, five of whom are black.
“For months after the 2020 election had been officially called, former President Trump and his associates made coordinated and systematic attempts to lodge their false claims of election fraud, targeted toward major cities with significant populations of voters of color,” Hewitt said.
The officers said in the statement that they “joined the Capitol Police to uphold the law and protect the Capitol community. On Jan. 6, we tried to stop people from breaking the law and destroying our democracy.”
“Since then, our jobs and those of our colleagues have become infinitely more dangerous. We want to do what we can to make sure the people who did this are held accountable and that no one can do this again.”
Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott may be contacted at: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mtapscott and on Parler at @Mtapscott.