Feds investigating communications between members of Congress, Capitol rioters

Cell phone data could prove whether or not lawmakers actively aided in assisting those who stormed the Capitol

Federal investigators have obtained records showing possible communications between members of Congress and alleged participants in the riots on behalf of former President Donald Trump at the United States Capitol on January 6.

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As the investigation continues to unfold, CNN reported that cell phone data could prove whether or not lawmakers actively aided in assisting those who stormed the Capitol building. Although communication does not prove help was given, the data collected thus far shows contact made between lawmakers and alleged rioters around the day of the insurrection.

The investigation has not yet targeted specific Congress members. However, if the evidence is found that lawmakers or staff members helped the rioters in any capacity, investigators can seek warrants to obtain the content.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

According to the report, law enforcement said the first step in their investigation was to collect cell phone data from phone towers to help identify those who were in the area and possibly participated in the violent event.

They have created an “exclusion list,” where they can separate mobile devices that had permissions to be in the building, such as Congress, staff, and other government officials versus those that were not.

Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Josh Hawley of Missouri suggested the FBI’s use of this data was beyond their authority, CNN reported. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, shared he has requested the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate due to his belief that Congress can access information the FBI cannot due to Speech or Debate protection. 

During an interview with the news outlet, he stated he is “making sure this isn’t an investigation that is limited to the individuals who assaulted and entered the Capitol on January 6,” and continued to state that “potential culpability by members of Congress” should be investigated.

FBI Director Christopher Wray faced questions regarding the national security and the historic event before the Senate Judiciary Committee. theGrio reported the Tuesday hearing was the first time he had appeared and spoken in public since before the November 2020 Presidential election.

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While no politicians have explicitly been named as complicit or officially under federal investigation, rumors have surrounded Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. theGrio reported one of her close friends was among the group of people who stormed the capitol.

Anthony Aguero, a conservative known for live-streaming during rallies, admitted that he was among the thousands of insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. He recorded live from the building, posting on Instagram. Greene, among the most controversial freshman representatives in Congress, has a notable history of spreading conspiracy theories and has frequently referred to Aguero as a “friend.”

According to CNN’s KFile, which researches social media histories of politicians, found instances where Aguero called Greene “one of my closest friends.”

In his clips, Aguero referred to those who stormed the Capitol as patriots. When asked about his videos, he said he entered the building as an “independent journalist,” according to CNN.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) leaves her office at the US Capitol on February 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

CBS News reported of those arrested, over 300 defendants have been charged in federal court for their actions on January 6. At least 91 were also indicted by grand juries. The alleged insurrectionists come from 42 different states, with Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania having the most residents arrested.

Wray said arrests were being made from thousands of tips shared with the FBI from the general public and digital media. According to a U.S. official, one man is being focused on and identified as a possible suspect in the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.

“With their help, we’ve identified hundreds of suspects and opened hundreds of investigations in all but one of our 56 field offices,” he remarked.

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