Evidence uncovered so far, including weapons and tactics seen on surveillance video, suggests a level of planning that has led investigators to believe the attack was not just a protest that spiraled out of control, a federal law enforcement official says.
Among the evidence the FBI is examining are indications that some participants at the Trump rally at the Ellipse, outside the White House, left the event early, perhaps to retrieve items to be used for the assault on the Capitol.
A team of investigators and prosecutors are focused on the command and control aspect of the attack, looking at travel and communications records to determine if they can build a case that is similar to a counterterrorism investigation, the official said.
The belief, early in the probe, will demand significant investigation.
The presence of corruption prosecutors and agents is in part because of their expertise in financial investigations.
“We are following the money,” the official said.
By Wednesday morning, the FBI reported that it had received more than 126,000 digital tips from the public regarding the attack on the Capitol – more than three times the number of tips received on Monday.
Among the thousands of tips the FBI received are some that appear to show members of Congress with people who later showed up at the Capitol riot, two law enforcement officials said. This doesn’t mean members of Congress and staff are under investigation, but the FBI is checking the veracity of the claims, the officials said.
At least some of the arrests already made are part of a strategy used in counterterrorism investigations, to find even a minimal charge and try to take a person of concern off the streets. That helps ease the possible threat amid concern about possible attacks on the Inauguration, officials believe.