Among the evidence the FBI is examining are indications that some attendees at the Trump rally at the Ellipse, outside the White House, left the event early, possibly to collect items for use. in the assault on the Capitol.
A team of investigators and prosecutors are also focusing on the command and control aspect of the attack, examining travel and communications records to determine if they can build a case similar to a terrorism investigation, the official said. .
The belief, at the start of the investigation, will require a thorough investigation.
The presence of prosecutors and corruption officers can be explained in part by their expertise in financial investigations. “We are tracking the money,” the official said.
As of Wednesday morning, the FBI reported receiving more than 126,000 digital tips from the public regarding the attack on Capitol Hill – more than three times the number of tips received on Monday.
Counterterrorism strategy for arrests
At least some of the arrests already made are part of a strategy used in counterterrorism investigations, to find even a minimal charge and try to get a concerned person off the streets. This helps mitigate the potential threat amid concerns about possible attacks on the inauguration, officials say.
On January 4, for example, local police arrested Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio in Washington, DC.
Tarrio has been taken into custody for allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a black church last month during protests in the city after a “Stop the Steal” rally. The Miami resident has been charged with destroying banner-related property, however, federal authorities say they found Tarrio in possession of two high-capacity gun magazines, prompting them to add a possession charge a large capacity feeder.
New York federal authorities arrested Eduard Florea, 40, on at least one weapons charge on Tuesday after law enforcement, including the FBI and NYPD, responded to a house in Queens in response to online messages about an armed trailer heading for the United States Capitol. two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told CNN.
Police sources told CNN the man claims to be a proud boy and was arrested with live ammunition at home.
Already, public efforts by prosecutors and the FBI to encourage those who participated in the riot to give themselves up are bearing fruit. Some lawyers have sought to arrange the safe surrender of their clients in order to obtain leniency and reduce the risk of a police raid on their homes, two officials said.
For example, a counterterrorism prosecutor even appeared in court for an early hearing of one of the defendants on Tuesday, signaling how much Justice Department efforts are already integrated between the typical criminal prosecutors who handle the initial criminal hearings and with units focused on more complex crimes. .
“With this strike force that has been established to focus strictly on sedition charges, we seek to treat this as a significant international counterterrorism or counterintelligence operation,” US Attorney Michael Sherwin said on Tuesday.
“We are looking at everything: money, travel records. Looking at disposition, movement, communication records. So no resources related to the FBI or the United States attorney’s office will be unchecked to try to determine exactly if there was a command and control how it worked and how they performed those activities. “