FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday sought to beat again right-wing conspiracy theories suggesting that pretend supporters of former president Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
It was Wray’s first testimony in Congress for the reason that assault — a failed bid to dam Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s November election victory — was carried out by supporters of Trump who, in a speech close to the White House, exhorted them to march to the Capitol in protest.
“I was appalled that you, our country’s elected leaders, were victimized right here in these very halls,” Wray testified earlier than the Senate’s judiciary committee.
“That siege was criminal behaviour, pure and simple. It’s behaviour that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism.”
Early on, Republicans on the panel sought to equate the Jan. 6 riot to the occasional violence that ensued in months of racial justice protests in dozens of U.S. cities final yr. The senior Republican on the panel, Chuck Grassley, made repeated references to Antifa and left-wing violence, together with a deadly taking pictures incident in Portland final yr and the near-fatal taking pictures of Congressman Steve Scalise in 2017 by a suspect who posted a photograph of Bernie Sanders on his Facebook profile.
But Wray was unequivocal by way of what the company has realized thus far by way of Jan. 6.
“We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection with the 6th,” he stated.
Last month in one other Senate listening to, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin introduced up the likelihood that “agent provocateurs” and “fake Trump protesters” had circulated amongst the group on Jan. 6, citing an article by a right-wing think-tank.
Wray stated there had been no proof offered but of pretend Trump protesters crashing the occasion, which seems to have been deliberate for weeks in response to earlier testimony, and he reiterated his assertion from 2020 hearings that white supremacists “have been responsible for the most lethal attacks over the last decade” by way of home terrorism.
Hundreds charged thus far
The U.S. Justice Department has charged greater than 300 people on prison counts starting from conspiracy to attacking police and obstructing Congress. The rioting led to 5 deaths.
At least 18 people related with the far-right Proud Boys — which Canada labelled a terrorist group final month — have been charged and 9 people tied to the anti-government militia often known as the Oath Keepers are going through expenses they conspired way back to November to storm the Capitol to forestall Biden from turning into president.
Biden took office on Jan. 20.
The FBI has but to arrest any suspects within the demise of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, or for pipe bombs that have been found exterior the headquarters of each the Republican and Democratic nationwide committees.
The FBI has obtained a video that reveals a suspect spraying bear spray on law enforcement officials, together with Sicknick, in response to a regulation enforcement supply acquainted with the investigation.
In a newly unsealed search warrant, investigators say rioters carried weapons contained in the Capitol together with tire irons, sledge hammers, stun weapons, bear spray and, in no less than one case, a handgun with an prolonged journal.
“Everyone involved must take responsibility for their actions that day, including our former president,” Grassley stated.
WATCH | Former FBI agent Jack Cloonan on the home terrorism menace:
Senate judiciary committee chair Dick Durbin, a Democrat, stated the government has not finished sufficient to guard in opposition to threats from far-right extremists and white supremacists, and accused the Trump administration of taking part in down these threats.
He stated the Trump administration “never set up a task force to combat the numerous incidents” from the far-right, and as a substitute targeted on Black Lives Matter activists.