According to a new report from CNN, as federal authorities continue their investigation of the circumstances surrounding the rioting at the Capitol on January 6, investigators have turned to connections between members of Congress and the rioters. Although there’s apparently no certain indication of particular wrongdoing by members of Congress, CNN says that investigators are nevertheless “examining records of communications between members of Congress and the pro-Trump mob that attacked the US Capitol, as the investigation moves closer to exploring whether lawmakers wittingly or unwittingly helped the insurrectionists, according to a US official briefed on the matter.”
Besides records of direct communications between members of Congress and rioters, investigators are also examining “communications between alleged rioters discussing their associations with members of Congress,” according to CNN, which also notes that investigators “could seek warrants to obtain the content of the communications,” if they feel so inclined. Investigators are examining questions like “possible funding of insurrectionists and whether political figures, including lawmakers and staff, aided the attack,” the outlet adds.
According to CNN, federal investigators “also have Capitol Police security footage that Democrats want examined to see if any members gave tours to riot participants in advance of January 6.” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said that he saw Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) leading a Capitol tour in the days before the rioting, although Boebert clarified that she has “never given a tour of the U.S. Capitol to any outside group.” Still, on the day of the rioting itself, before the violence actually unfolded, Boebert glibly proclaimed on Twitter that the day was on par with 1776 — meaning the American Revolution — clearly helping lay the rhetorical groundwork for the subsequent Capitol violence.
In the wake of the rioting, investigators have been looking at geolocation data from cellphones in an effort to solidify their understanding of who exactly was at the Capitol during the rioting, and during a recent Congressional hearing, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) — whose own promotion of the lie that the outcome of the 2020 election was dubious fueled the rioters — pressured FBI Director Christopher Wray over this data collection. Former FBI special agent Clint Watts characterized Hawley’s questions as “deeply misleading,” because, as he put it, “all investigations involve the pursuit of records.” In short, Hawley was punitively sowing distrust in federal investigative authorities.