A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) official said that “national security equities” allegedly may have been among records stolen from the Capitol on Wednesday when demonstrators stormed inside, with looters entering several congressional offices.
Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for Washington D.C., said that it will likely take “several days to flesh out exactly what happened, what was stolen, what wasn’t,” according to Politico. He noted that “items, electronic items were stolen from senators’ offices, documents and materials were stolen, and we have to identify what was done to mitigate that [damage].”
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who sits on several high-profile committees, said that his laptop was stolen. Photos also showed a man sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) seat, and the man allegedly removed a piece of mail. One man was seen carrying the lectern of the House speaker in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building.
“We have to do a full review of what was taken, or copied, or even left behind in terms of bugs and listening devices, etc.,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) in a comment to Politico.
The House Chief Administrative Office stated that “at this time, there have been no indications that the House network was compromised” and said the office issued commands to lock laptops and computers, and shut down wired network access.
The crowd stormed the Capitol following a rally that featured President Donald Trump as both chambers of Congress were counting Electoral College votes. Trump called on the demonstrators to go to the Capitol but he didn’t say they should break in or riot. Later, the president called on the demonstrators to not attack police officers and, later in a video message, said they should “go home in peace” before Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites deleted the president’s posts.
Republican and Democratic members of Congress have blamed Trump for inciting violence and chaos that left four people dead, including a U.S. Air Force veteran, as well as a U.S. Capitol police officer.
On Thursday night, Trump struck a different tone.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in the video. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
By Friday morning, the president praised the 75 million people who cast ballots for him during the Nov. 3 election.
“They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” Trump wrote of his supporters, describing them as “patriots.”