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Friday, January 15th, 2021

House committee leaders seek briefing from FBI on Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol

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Leaders of five House committees are seeking an immediate briefing with the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on its efforts to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that led to five deaths.

“We write to request an immediate and urgent briefing on the steps the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is taking to investigate and pursue for prosecution the instigation, planning, and execution of the deadly terrorist attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, by President Donald Trump, his supporters, and outside groups, as well as to disrupt any further activity designed to attack our government,” the chairs wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The letter was signed by Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Committee on Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, and Rep. Stephen Lynch.

“Given the incendiary environment caused and exacerbated by President Trump’s rhetoric, along with the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, it is imperative that the FBI leverage all available assets and resources to ensure that the perpetrators of this domestic terrorist attack and those who incited and conspired with them are brought to justice and that this domestic terrorist group is disrupted from further actions against our government,” the chairs wrote.

The letter outlines ways the lawmakers say Trump and others incited the attack, claiming the election was stolen from him, despite multiple failed lawsuits and a lack of evidence.

“President Trump repeatedly incited his supporters to travel to the District of Columbia and carry out violence against the Capitol and Members of Congress. On December 19, 2020, President Trump published a tweet inviting his supporters to come to D.C., stating: ‘Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!’

“At a rally yesterday morning, the President told his supporters that ‘we got to get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good’ and that ‘we fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’ President Trump ended his speech by telling his supporters, ‘We’re going [to] walk down to the Capitol … you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,’” the lawmakers wrote to Wray.

The letter also cites comments made by Rudolph Giuliani and Trump’s son, Donald Trump. Jr.

“The President’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, also spoke at the rally, encouraging the President’s supporters to engage in ‘trial by combat’ to engage in ‘trial by combat’ to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The President’s son, Donald Trump Jr. warned Republican Members who supposedly do not support the President that ‘we’re coming for you.'”

The committee leaders asked Wray for a briefing on how the FBI is working to investigate and prosecute those they call domestic terrorists and as well as those that enabled them. They also want to know how the FBI prepared for the Jan. 6 events.