Some Capitol rioters could go free to stop local courthouses being swamped, report says

Sophia Ankel
·2 min read
Capitol riot
Protesters broke into Capitol Building on January 06, 2021. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • DOJ and FBI officials are considering not charging all the Trump supporters involved in the Capitol siege.

  • Some have argued that charging all of the rioters could swamp local courthouses, sources told the Washington Post.

  • Others have pushed back against this proposal, saying it would undermine the DOJ's credibility.

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Justice Department and FBI officials are reportedly considering whether or not they should charge all the individuals involved in storming the US Capitol earlier this month, the Washington Post reported.

According to the report published on Saturday, multiple anonymous sources close to the discussions say officials are debating if they should charge those who entered the building unlawfully but didn't actually participate in the chaos with criminal charges.

Some officials have raised logistical problems with charging all of the estimated 800 rioters who took part in the Capitol siege.

Read more: These are all the federal crimes Trump extremists could be charged with after their attack on the US Capitol

One concern is that blanket charges could swamp local courthouses and increase the burden on DOJ and FBI agents, who have already indicted more than 135 suspects. Charge against many more rioters are expected in the coming weeks and months.

Also, rioters who didn't participate in the destruction might want to cooperate to escape prosecution and lead officials to other information and suspects.

Other officials pushed back against this proposal, the Post reported. They want everyone involved charged because it would assert the message that the violent insurrection - which killed five people, including a police officer - will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

The officials are also mindful that the DOJ and the FBI's credibility could be called into question if they fail to prosecute all who trespassed on the Capitol.

Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said in a statement to the Post: "There is absolute resolve from the Department of Justice to hold all who intentionally engaged in criminal acts at the Capitol accountable."

"We have consistently made clear that we will follow the facts and evidence and charge individuals accordingly," Raimondi added. "We remain confident that the U.S. District Court for Washington, DC can appropriately handle the docket related to any resulting charges."

Insider also reached out for comment.

There is one point all officials agree on: bringing charges against those suspected of coordinating and planning the Capitol siege.

Since the Capitol insurrection on January 6, law enforcement officials have been combing through thousands of photos, videos, and social media posts to identify the rioters.

They have already received more than 200,000 tips from the public and are in the process of arresting and charging more rioters.

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