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Authorities on Thursday announced they are now in the process of tracking down at least 36 suspects – in addition to the 68 already arrested – who scaled the Senate and House Chambers, ruined statues, fired tear gas and smashed buildings on Wednesday in chaotic scenes.
The suspects, who are part of a group of white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and conspiracy theorists, are wanted on a slew of charges including inciting a riot and weapons charges – and the Department of Justice has promised to bring them all before the courts.
Some of the assailants have already been identified through social media – such as the horned QAnon ‘Shaman’ Jake Angeli and a MAGA fan whose marketing company fired him when they spotted his work lanyard around his neck – but the rest are wanted by law enforcement, and a huge manhunt has been launched across DC and the country.
The pictures taken throughout the nation’s capital were revealed at a press conference on Thursday as a growing number of politicians, including President-Elect Joe Biden and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, have blamed Trump for the violent uprising.
The president, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election, had earlier urged his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ and protest Congress’ formal approval of the results in yet another failed attempt to stay in power.
As a sitting president, Trump cannot be charged with any crimes until he officially leaves office on January 20 when Biden is inaugurated, however authorities can still open a case and conduct an investigation.
Wednesday’s violent protesters had been egged on by President Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to protest Congress’s formal approval of Biden’s victory
WANTED: Federal and local authorities are trying to track down at least 36 suspects – in addition to the 68 already arrested – who stormed the US Capitol building, defaced property, fired tear gas and trashed officers on Wednesday in chaotic scenes
Police on Thursday released photos of members of the violent Trump mob wanted on federal charges after storming the US Capitol building
Dozens of Trump loyalists were photographed breaking windows, entering both the Senate and House chambers and going into the offices of lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday
The FBI is now working with various law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators and charge people with federal crimes
Video stills show how the cops were completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowd. They breezed past them before storming into the Capitol building
But even if they choose to pursue legal action, details of such are unlikely to be announced in order to avoid Trump potentially pardoning himself and sparking a constitutional crisis.
The extraordinary breach has raised questions from lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum as to how law enforcement could allow a mob to occupy and vandalize the federal building.
Several members of Congress have since called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked so he is removed from office in the next two weeks while House Democrats have drawn up articles of impeachment.
Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday characterized the incident as ‘textbook terrorism’ and joined in the criticism of the police response.
‘Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had people enter the Capitol by breaking windows and terrorizing the members of Congress who were doing a very sacred requirement of their jobs,’ she said.
Former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Danny Coulson told Fox News on Thursday it was clear the wild incident was ‘instigator-generated’.
‘It didn’t just happen. There were people there that came to do it and generated it and caused this horrible mayhem,’ he said.
Coulson said it was likely the remaining suspects will be tracked down and charged soon, now that the FBI and Secret Service can identify them using their ‘good facial recognition ability’ on the photos.
A total of 68 people were arrested between Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday. That number is expected to climb as authorities search for more suspects
Ashli Babbitt (left and right) has been identified as the woman who was shot and killed inside the US Capitol when Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building and violently clashed with police in a bid to stop Joe Biden’s victory being certified
DC Police Chief Robert Contee released numerous images of the persons of interests in hopes the public could help identify them.
‘These images depict individuals engaged in various acts of violence or property destruction,’ Contee said in a news conference on Thursday. ‘
Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said federal authorities have also teamed up with various law enforcement agencies to gather evidence, identify perpetrators and charge those people with federal crimes.
TIMELINE OF THE CHAOS
6AM: Crowds start to gather for Trump rally that is scheduled for 10am
On December 19, Trump told his fans on Twitter to gather in Washington DC. He said: ‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, be wild!
They gathered peacefully in their thousands outside the White House to first wish Eric Trump a Happy Birthday, and then head from the President himself.
11.50am: Trump speaks at Save America Rally, promises to walk with crowd down to the Capitol
In a long, sermon-like speech that went on for more than an hour, Trump told his fans that he’d walk with them. At that stage, there was no mention of violence.
‘And after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,’ he said.
He did not, however, walk with with them as promised.
1pm: Lawmakers gather in the House chamber to certify Biden’s election win
1.10pm: Rioters arrive at the Capitol building and start clashing with police.
At 1.26pm, Capitol police order the evacuations of Library of Congress, Madison Building and Cannon House Office Building but not the House chamber
1.40pm: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bows orders a 6pm curfew but does nothing to address the escalating situation at the Capitol.
Meanwhile, Capitol police request back-up.
2.11pm: The rioters scale the walls of the Capitol. Vice President Mike Pence is evacuated from the House chamber moments later.
2.39pm: Videos and photographs emerge showing rioters smashing the windows of the Capitol building
2.47pm: Rioters are seen at the dais
2.53pm: Congress is removed from the Chamber in breathing masks and escape hoods
3:51 p.m. The District of Columbia National Guard, about 1,100 troops, is mobilized to support local law enforcement.
6pm: Washington DC curfew begins, many ignore it to stay put
8pm: Lawmakers return to the Chamber to certify Biden win
‘The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law,’ Rosen said in a statement. ‘Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today.’
Two men and two women died in the violent siege in Washington DC on Wednesday, including 35-year-old US Air Force veteran Ashli Babbit, who was shot dead by police after she tried to clamber through a barricaded entrance.
Another three victims died after suffering ‘medical emergencies’ related to the breach. They have been identified as Benjamin Phillips, 50, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania, Kevin Greason, 55, of Athens, Alabama, and Rosanne Boreland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia, DC Police Chief Robert Contee confirmed on Thursday.
Further information regarding the nature of their deaths was not released.
A total of 68 people were arrested near the Capitol between Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning, with more expected to be charged as authorities continue to identify and search suspects, police said.
Of those arrests, five were related to unlawful firearm possession and two were for other prohibited weapons including metal knuckles and blackjack-like weapons.
The majority of arrests were related to curfew violations and unlawful entry, with 48 arrests made on US Capitol grounds. Only one of the suspected arrested is from the DC area, Contee said.
More than 50 Capitol and DC police were injured in the riot, including several who were hospitalized.
A 27-year-old Maryland woman, identified as Jessica Reinke, was arrested and charged with defacing public property and assaulting a police officer, according to police arrest records.
And only one person has been arrested on felony charges so far. The suspect, identified as Joshua Pruitt, 39, of DC, is charged with felony rioting, as well as unlawful entry and curfew violation.
Pruitt is reported to have ties to The Proud Boys, a white supremacist group that has been present at Trump rallies across the country in the past.
Christopher Alberts, from Maryland, was among the crowd of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol building, an event which he called ‘the beginning of a revolution.’
‘The people that were here today are going to come back even more, and we’re not coming back peacefully, and we’re not coming back unarmed,’ he told The Dispatch. ‘America’s long overdue for revolution.’
The 33-year-old was later arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possessing a firearm on Capitol Grounds, among other charges.
Alberts had told the publication that he was attacked by police officers as he tried to enter the federal building.
‘The second I got to the tops of the steps they f**king baton my leg. They freaking rubber-bulleted by arm,’ he said.
A list of arrests released by the police department Thursday did not include several suspects identified as participants on social media, including ‘QAnon Shaman’ Jake Angeli or Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett, who broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk and took a piece of her mail.
Dozens of those involved in the violent siege, labeled as ‘great patriots’ by the president are yet to be identified and the FBI is now asking for the helping in finding them, tweeting they are ‘accepting tips & digital media depicting rioting & violence in the U.S. Capitol Building & surrounding area on January 6, 2021.’
Shortly before 2pm, the rioters descended on Capitol Hill while lawmakers were inside certifying the vote. Over the next two hours, the violence escalated. Some broke into politicians’ offices, tauntingly sat at their desks and left threatening notes. One of the protesters was shot dead by cops (bottom right)
In Pelosi’s office, 60-year-old Richard Barnett posed for a photo reclining in the House Speaker’s chair before he later returned to the crowd of supporters outside and flashed a hand-written envelope he had looted
On Barnett’s Facebook, he has shared images of the Gadsden flag snake – which is regarded as a racist symbol – and boasts of being a white nationalist
‘If you have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant,’ they added. Police later released images of ‘persons of interest’ they want to identify.
Most of those already arrested have been accused of curfew violations. Others face charges of carrying a pistol without a license.
The former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, has said the bureau must make ‘identifying, arresting, and prosecuting every single person that you possibly can that entered that Capitol building yesterday’ a top priority.
But some of those who took part have already been identified online as members of far right groups, white nationalists, Neo-Nazis and supporters of conspiracy theory QAnon. They are from states all over the country including Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Oregon.
Chief Steven Sund, in his first public comment on the mayhem from Wednesday, said in a statement that rioters ‘actively attacked’ Capitol police and other law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants and ‘took up other weapons against our officers.’
The heavily-tattooed Trump supporter, who has become a fixture at recent right-wing rallies decked out in his signature attire, has been identified as Jake Angeli
The longtime Arizona QAnon supporter dressed in fur and a horned helmet, was among the violent mob of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol Wednesday
Angeli leads a mob of supporters breaking into the Capitol Wednesday night causing lawmakers to evacuate the chambers
He described the scene as ‘unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.,” said Sund, a former city police officer.
‘Make no mistake: these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior. The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced.’
Lawmakers from both parties have pledged to investigate law enforcement’s actions and questioned whether a lack of preparedness allowed a mob to occupy and vandalize the building.
Mayor Muriel Bowser joined in the criticism of the police response. ‘Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had people enter the Capitol by breaking windows and terrorizing the members of Congress who were doing a very sacred requirement of their jobs.”
A large crowd of Trump supporters had rallied near the White House on Wednesday morning, and the president told them that he would go with them to the Capitol. He didn’t. Instead he sent them off with incendiary rhetoric.
‘If you don´t fight like hell, you´re not going to have a country anymore,’ he said. ‘Let the weak ones get out,’ he went on. ‘This is a time for strength.’
Capitol Police, who are charged with protecting Congress, turned to other law enforcement for help with the mob that overwhelmed the complex and sent lawmakers into hiding. Both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hourslong occupation of the complex before it was cleared Wednesday evening.