According to a new report from The Intercept, federal authorities have seized large quantities of phone and other electronic data from the day of the Capitol rioting, and some of this data is connected to members of Congress. Members of Congress like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) have faced steep criticism in the wake of the rioting over their perceived incitement — and, in Boebert’s case, suspected assistance — of the rioters. Cruz was among the chief proponents of the false conspiracy theory that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was dubious and warranted further scrutiny, which drove the rioters. Meanwhile, Boebert apparently led a “large” contingent of individuals on a Capitol tour in the days before the rioting.
The Intercept reported as follows:
‘Within hours of the storming of the Capitol on January 6, the FBI began securing thousands of phone and electronic records connected to people at the scene of the rioting — including some related to members of Congress, raising potentially thorny legal questions. Using special emergency powers and other measures, the FBI has collected reams of private cellphone data and communications that go beyond the videos that rioters shared widely on social media, according to two sources with knowledge of the collection effort.’
Authorities have collected contents of communications and communication records from the day of the rioting, and some of the “cellphone data includes many records from the members of Congress and staff members who were at the Capitol that day to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory,” The Intercept elaborates. The “data is… being used to map links between suspects, which include members of Congress,” the outlet adds, adding that separately, Capitol Police are also apparently investigating “whether lawmakers helped rioters gain access to the Capitol as several Democrats have alleged they did, though Republican officials deny this.”
Separately, Capitol Police have also apparently recently been investigating two members of Congress — Reps. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) and Andy Harris (Md.) — over incidents in which Fulcher is suspected of physically shoving a Capitol officer and Harris is suspected of asking a fellow Congressman to hold a gun that Harris had been carrying while the Maryland Representative went into the House chamber.
Republican members of Congress with connections to the original rioting, including Cruz, have faced widespread demands for their immediate resignation. The Justice Department indicated that their team handling the Capitol rioting fallout includes top public corruption officials, and their presence “indicates a focus on public officials, i.e. Capitol Police and members of Congress,” according to a recently retired FBI official speaking to The Intercept.