That will certainly put a hole in the *ahem* alternate theories of events surrounding the January 6 riot/attack on Capitol Hill. The FBI has developed hundreds of cases against its perpetrators, Christopher Wray testified in the Senate this morning, some of whom have connections to white supremacy movements or militias. None so far, however, have connections to Antifa or other radical left-wing groups, although Wray testified that they will pursue any such links if they arise.
Thus far, though, they have “not seen evidence” of Antifa or leftist involvement in the Capitol riot:
Asked by Sen. Dick Durbin if he'd seen any evidence of "'fake' Trump protesters" tied to Capitol insurrection, FBI Dir. Chris Wray says, "we have not seen evidence of that at this stage." https://t.co/ChYeg51EKb pic.twitter.com/DFj7xg47MJ
— ABC News (@ABC) March 2, 2021
“We’re coming after it” if there’s violence from both the left and the right, he added, but in the Capitol, there wasn’t evidence of leftists adding fuel to the insurrection.
Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin had asked Wray if he had seen evidence that the attack was organized by “fake Trump protesters.”
“We have not seen evidence of that, at this stage, certainly,” Wray responded.
This knocks down a baseless claim that has been pushed by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in recent weeks, as he has sought to downplay the damage committed by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
With more than 250 cases cooking already, and with plenty of video and photographic evidence on hand, it’s not as though the lack evidence comes from a lack of curiosity. In fact, Wray credits the American people with driving the investigation forward by cooperation with the FBI. He notes that some have made the “painful” decision to turn in family members and friends who bragged about their involvement during and after the riots, proving once again that the perpetrators of this outrage were their own worst enemies in more ways than one:
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the agency views the Jan. 6 Capitol attack as "domestic terrorism."
— CNN (@CNN) March 2, 2021
If Antifa or other leftists has been involved, wouldn’t they have also gotten exposed by the people who knew them? Perhaps they’re just better at keeping their mouths shut, but the investigations into the riots in Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Seattle, and other cities don’t necessarily lend much credence to that possibility. The Department of Justice has made cases against leftist rioters in those cities, in significant part because they’re also too foolish to keep from bragging about their exploits or showing off their looting spoils.
Wray also delivered some tough talk to leaders at the Capitol. He testified that the FBI warned everyone of the potential for violence at least one day in advance, leaving open the question — what did they do with that warning?
Wray’s comments in his first public appearance before Congress since the deadly Capitol attack two months ago amounted to the FBI’s most vigorous defense against the suggestion that it had not adequately communicated to police agencies that there was a distinct possibility of violence as lawmakers were gathering to certify the results of the presidential election.
A Jan. 5 report from the FBI’s Norfolk, Virginia, field office warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington the following day. However, Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of that report and had received no intelligence from the FBI that would have led them to expect the sort of violence that besieged the Capitol that day. Five people died that day.
Asked about the handling of the report, Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that it was shared though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post and posted on an Internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. The information was raw and unverified, and ideally, the FBI would have had more time to try to corroborate it.
“Our folks made the judgment to get that to the relevant people as quickly as possible,” Wray said.
Wray said he could not produce the warning in open session, due to its classification within the DoJ. However, senators can certainly request a closed-session review of that material, and should do so rather soon. If the FBI did provide this warning to Capitol police, it bolsters the case that a housecleaning is necessary to make it an effective security force for Congress and its offices. And it might mean that the people in charge in Congress need a shake-up too, if they missed this or did not prepare in light of this warning.