The FBI is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of a would-be pipe bomber.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, is working to identify the Trump-supporting rioters who attacked and looted the United States Capitol on Wednesday.
According to BBC News, thousands of Trump loyalists converged on Washington, D.C., earlier this week, to express their outage at President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November general election. While the protest does not appear to have been well-coordinated, it culminated in chaos after several individuals crossed police-manned barricades in front of the capitol.
Outnumbered and potentially outgunned, law enforcement retreated—allowing the pro-Trump rioters largely-unfettered access to the Capitol.
Protesters were photographed engaging in a variety of crimes, from vandalizing congressional offices to physically fighting security personnel. One man was pictured carrying Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s podium away from the House chambers, while at least one congressperson reported that a laptop had been stolen from their office.
Confrontations around and within the Capitol also led to injuries and at least five confirmed deaths. Capitol police officers purportedly deployed tear gas and flashbang grenades to clear protesters from building corridors; one pro-Trump supporter, identified as Ashli Babbitt, was shot to death by an officer after rioters broke a window.
Babbitt, notes India-based NDTV, wrote a tweet proclaimed that “nothing will stop us” mere hours before her death.
The FBI has since stated that protesters who managed to leave Capitol alive and unchained will face criminal charges—some minor, some severe. Potential charges include unlawful entry, but may also extend to assault, sedition, and terroristic activity.
Severe consequences could befall protesters who carried or discharged firearms in or around the Capitol, as well as several who were photographed wielding Molotov cocktails and other home-made explosives.
At least two men were also observed wielding firearms and carrying bundles of zip-ties, which appear to have been intended for any congresspeople who may have still been inside the Capitol.
The FBI, along with other Washington, D.C.-area authorities, has also stated that several live, viable explosive devices, including pipe bombs, were recovered in D.C. on the day of the riots.
Agents have uploaded photographs of many protesters on its websites, and are asking members of the public to assist in identifying suspects. They are also offering a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the individual who planted pipe bombs at the national headquarters of the Democratic and Republican parties.
Investigators say that they have so far received some 17,000 tips.
The rioters were protesting Congress’s impending certification of Electoral College votes declaring President-elect Joe Biden the victory of the 2020 presidential election. President Trump, along with many of his supporters, has advocated baseless conspiracy which allege that Biden’s win was a direct consequence of widespread voter fraud.
Trump has since been accused of actively encouraging the rioters. Several members of the presidential Cabinet, along with multiple White House aides, have resigned in the past 48 hours.
Congressional Democrats, along with several Republican legislators, have suggested that President Trump may be impeached next week.