Political News

Investigation into Capitol attack is unprecedented in scope, Justice Department says

Posted January 12, 2021 3:58 p.m. EST

— Federal investigators are chasing thousands of leads in twin efforts to prosecute people involved in last week's attack on the US Capitol and to try to prevent feared follow-up attacks in Washington and around the country.

But while the FBI has opened more than 160 case files in the six days since pro-Donald Trump rioters breached the US Capitol building, officials acknowledged Tuesday that the evidence gathered so far "is just the tip of the iceberg."

"People are going to be shocked by some of the egregious contact that happened in the Capitol," acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said.

At the same time, officials from the FBI and Department of Justice sought to reassure the American public Tuesday that they are up to the task on both fronts during a press conference that also laid bare the enormity of the challenge currently facing law enforcement agencies involved in both efforts.

"The FBI is quite familiar with large-scale, complex investigations ... we are up to the challenge," FBI Washington DC field office assistant director Steven D'Antuono said.

Sherwin echoed that point, telling reporters "The scope and the scale of this investigation into these cases are really unprecedented not only in FBI history but probably DOJ history in which essentially the Capitol grounds outside and inside are essentially a crime scene."

"It is not going to be solved in the coming months," he added.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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