The Justice Department has charged 34 individuals and have opened 200 additional cases in relation to crimes committed on the Capitol grounds.
The Trump supporters responsible for ransacking the United States Capitol building are now facing legal consequences for their actions. Since the takeover of the Capitol on January 6, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray has reported arresting over 100 individuals connected with the attack.
Videos across social media have shown supporters of President Donald Trump being detained at airports or kicked off flights. Many of these posts have falsely claimed that the individuals depicted took part in the Capitol Hill riots and are now on a federal no-fly list.
The no-fly list, officially known as the terrorist screening database, was created by the FBI after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. The FBI adds individuals to the list “when there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a person is a known or suspected terrorist.”
In a press release, Democratic Representative Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, called for the FBI to include participants in the attack on the capital in the no-fly list.
“Given the heinous domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol yesterday,” the press release states, “I am urging the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use their authorities to add the names of all identified individuals involved in the attack to the federal No-Fly List and keep them off planes.”
The law, though, focuses on international terrorists rather than US citizens because the definition of a domestic terrorist is so narrow. This definition is clarified in the “Myth vs. Reality” section of the USA Patriot Act as referring to “Individuals and groups” who “engage in criminal wrongdoing that could result in death.” Under the current law, domestic terrorism is not classified as a federal crime.
According to CNN, the FBI has publicly acknowledged that they are considering adding members of the mob to the no-fly list despite the difficulty in navigating the law.
“As for the no-fly list, we look at all tools and techniques that we possibly can use within the FBI,” FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge Steven D’Antuono told CNN, “and that’s something we are actively looking at.”
“We cannot allow these same insurrectionists to get on a plane and cause more violence and more damage,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer said at a news briefing, expressing his concern about possible disruptions prior to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. “The situation has many concerned about the possibility of another attack or attacks.”
Images and videos of individual members of the mob in the Capitol building quickly went viral and led to them being among the first to be arrested.
Jacob Chansley, shirtless, spattered with war paint, wearing a bearskin headdress, quickly became an online sensation. Multiple photos and videos circulated the internet, depicting him on the Capitol steps and inside the Capitol building itself.
On January 9, the self-proclaimed “QAnon Shaman” turned himself into an FBI field office in Phoenix, Arizona where he lives. The Justice Department has charged him with, “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.”
Richard Barnett gained internet fame for putting his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk. Before he left the office, he took an envelope with the speaker’s letterhead, leaving a quarter on the desk as payment.
On January 8, Barnett turned himself in to the FBI in Bentonville, Arkansas. He was originally charged for “knowingly entering or remaining in restricted grounds without authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and theft of public property or records.”
However, The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that Barnett was armed with a “stun gun,” which, if he’s convicted, could see Barnett facing up to 10 years in prison.
Lonnie Leroy Coffman was also arrested on January 8 for “one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device, and one count of carrying a pistol without a license” according to the Justice Department. US Capitol Police found a handgun, assault rifle and material to construct eleven Molotov cocktails in Coffman’s truck. He was later stopped and searched, when police found another handgun on his person. Coffman faces up to 15 years in prison on two charges.
By Thursday, January 14, the Justice Department reported that they had received over 140,000 tips from the public. They have charged 34 individuals and have opened 200 additional cases in relation to crimes committed on the Capitol grounds.
“We know who you are if you’re out there,” Wray said at an inauguration security briefing. “FBI agents are coming to find you.”
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