The US Department of Justice is charging numerous individuals involved in the violence in the US Capitol on Wednesday and has not ruled out the possibility of criminally charging President Donald Trump for allegedly inciting the riot.
“We are looking at all actors, not only people who went into the building.” Said Michael Sherwin, the US Attorney in Washington DC.
According to the New York Times, Sherwin was asked whether the targets in the prosecution would also include Trump.
“We are looking at all actors here,” Sherwin said. “Was there a command and control? Were there others that maybe assisted or facilitated or obviously played some ancillary role in this? Anyone that had a role, and the evidence fits the elements of a crime, they’re going to be charged.”
Sherwin said that the DOJ would “bring the maximum charges we can based upon the conduct.”
“Sherwin also said no charges are off the table,” USA Today reported. “Charges such as seditious conspiracy, rioting and insurrection will be considered if warranted. Last year, following weeks of unrest in several cities after the death of George Floyd, Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen wrote a memo telling federal prosecutors to consider a sedition charge against protesters who conspired to ‘take a federal courthouse or other federal property by force.'”
The Department of Justice usually protects sitting presidents by asserting that they cannot be held criminally liable, but that protection will end for Trump following the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
On January 6, Trump held a rally with supporters amidst the certification of the Electoral College victory for Biden. Following the rally, thousands who attended the speech stormed the US Capitol building, striking law enforcement officers and vandalizing the federal building. At least five people died as the result of the riot, including a police officer who was smashed in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Trump has since disavowed the rioters and has called for criminal prosecution against them. In a speech on Thursday night, the President expressed his outrage at the “violence, lawlessness, and mayhem.”
“I’d like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol,” Trump said. “Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem. I immediately deployed the national guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is and must always be a nation of law and order. The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law, you will pay.”