The Latest from AP: Feds considering sedition, conspiracy charges against rioters


By The Associated Press



The Latest on the fallout from the attack of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump loyalists (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

Federal prosecutors are looking at bringing “significant” cases involving possible sedition and conspiracy charges in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

That’s according to acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, who provided an update on criminal charges at a Justice Department news conference on Tuesday.

He says that some of the misdemeanor charges brought against the people who sieged the Capitol were intended as placeholder counts and that more serious charges including sedition are possible. He says the Justice Department has created a specialized task force that will look at everything from travel to movement of the individuals.

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says “be careful of what you wish for” as House lawmakers consider a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare the president unable to serve.

Pence is not expected to take any such action, regardless of the vote.

Trump said Tuesday as he visited the southern border wall: “The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration.” He added, “As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.”

After voting on the resolution, the House will proceed with legislation to impeach Trump. The president says the effort is causing “tremendous, anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time.”

Trump has also addressed last week’s riot at the Capitol. He says, “We believe in the rule of law, not in violence or rioting.”

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3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas trumpeting one of the pillars of his presidency: his campaign against illegal immigration and building a wall along the southern border.

It’s Trump’s first time appearing in public since a violent mob of his supporters sieged the nation’s Capitol last week in an effort to halt the peaceful transition of power.

Trump said Tuesday in Alamo that the wall has been crucial for securing the border.

He says he’s put an end to “immigration chaos,” despite the chaos his administration created with its child separation policy and attempted travel bans.

Before he spoke, Trump used a Sharpie to once again sign his autograph on a plaque on the wall.

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2:35 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence has told governors on a call about the coronavirus that “our time” is coming to an end and a “new administration” is taking over.

Pence said Tuesday that the administration is in the middle of the transition and is working “diligently” with President-elect Joe Biden’s team. He thanked the governors for their leadership on the coronavirus and promised them a “seamless transition.”

He says the objective “is that there is no interruption in our continuous efforts to put the health of the American people first.”

Pence’s comments come as the U.S. House moves forward toward impeachment or other steps to forcibly remove Trump from office after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week to stop Congress from affirming Biden’s victory. Trump has falsely claimed widespread voter fraud cost him the election.

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1:15 p.m.

According to a report in The Washington Post, the FBI had warned that extremists were preparing to come to Washington, attack Congress and engage in “war.”

The report says the warning was issued internally by the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Virginia, a day before the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The warning directly contradicts statements from the Justice Department and FBI officials that they had no intelligence to suggest a storming of the Capitol.

The Post says the memo described how people had been sharing maps of the Capitol’s tunnels and discussing rallying points to meet up to travel to Washington. The newspaper reported that the document detailed posts calling for violence, including that “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Antifa slave soldiers being spilled.”

It also said to “go there ready for war.”

The Associated Press has not obtained the document. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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1:10 p.m.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the violence at the Capitol shows the need for the Senate to swiftly confirm Joe Biden’s national security team on the first day of his administration.

Schumer said in a letter to colleagues that the deadly Capitol riot by a mob loyal to President Donald Trump last week was “one of the darkest days in all of American history.”

He said Biden will need “key national security positions on Day One.”

The Senate often confirms some nominees on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, but this year the Senate will also likely be convening Trump’s impeachment trial. The House is set to impeach Trump this week on a sole charge of inciting insurrection in the violent riot.

Schumer wants the chamber to swiftly take up those nominees for secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security, secretary of state, attorney general, and others.

Schumer outlined the party’s agenda, vowing to push ahead on Democratic priorities.

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11:50 a.m.

A total of 15,000 National Guard members have now been activated and will deploy to Washington, D.C., to help provide security in the run up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The number of Guard members coming in from other states has been growing, amid escalating fears of more violent protests in the wake of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.

The Army also said Tuesday that officials are working with the Secret Service to determine which Guard members may need additional background screening. Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado had asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to have the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command screen Guard members coming in to ensure they were not “sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”

The Army said some members may be subject to additional background screening. Traditionally, those who get within close proximity to the president — or in this case the president-elect — are checked more closely. So far, officials said they have not yet identified any Guard members who participated in the protests.

The Army said the D.C. National Guard is also giving troops additional training as they arrive in the city, so they know to identify and report any extremist behavior to their commanders.

The Army also said it is working with the FBI to identify people who participated in Capitol attack, adding, “any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”

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11:15 a.m.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the FBI to add anyone identified breaching the Capitol during last week’s violent riot to the federal no-fly list.

Schumer sent a letter Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the attack on the Capitol as Congress was voting to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win was “domestic terrorism.” He said those who stormed the Capitol should qualify as “insurrectionists for the No-Fly List.”

Schumer told Wray that they must also be fully prosecuted to the full extent of federal law. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

The federal no-fly list is part of the U.S. government’s Terrorist Screening Database and prohibits anyone who “may pose a threat to civil aviation or national security” from boarding a commercial aircraft. Generally, in order to be placed on the list, the government must have information that the person presents “a threat of committing terrorism” to the aircraft or the U.S. homeland or U.S. facilities.

The no-fly list is one of the government’s most controversial post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism programs.

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10:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is taking no responsibility for his role in fomenting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.

A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot a woman during the violence. Three others died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.

Speaking to reporters before traveling to Texas on Tuesday, Trump says his remarks to supporters last week were “totally appropriate.”

Minutes before his supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump encouraged them to march on the seat of the nation’s government where lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Trump, for months, had also spread baseless claims that the November election was fraudulent, despite his own administration’s findings to the contrary.

As rioters were still in the Capitol, Trump released a video seemingly excusing the events, saying of the rioters: “We love you. You’re very special.”

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10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House that the prospect of impeachment is causing “tremendous anger” in the nation. But he said he wants “no violence.”

The president spoke as he left for Texas to survey the border wall with Mexico. His remarks were his first to reporters since the Capitol attack.

On impeachment, Trump said it’s “a really terrible thing that they’re doing.” But he said, “We want no violence. Never violence.”

By The Associated Press