The acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, says “hundreds” of people may ultimately face charges related to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, which interrupted a session of Congress and left five people dead.
Sherwin spoke with NPR’s Martin Kaste in an exclusive interview Saturday evening about the multiagency investigation, the challenges officials face and what they’ll be looking for.
Sherwin says he doesn’t want to “Monday morning quarterback” the U.S. Capitol Police, but the fact that they allowed hundreds of potential suspects to leave the scene has made his job more difficult. Now he says staffers are putting in “24-hour shifts” to identify suspects, searching for evidence online and saving it before it can be deleted.
He says there’s likely to be a wide array of criminal charges, ranging from destruction of federal property to murder. He also expects to find evidence of coordination among at least some of the rioters.
At the same time, Sherwin is careful about what to call the violence at the Capitol. He says it’s not his place to make political judgments.
“I don’t want this tyranny of labels saying this was sedition, this was a coup,” Sherwin says. “But what I will say is, it was criminal.”
And, he says, if the evidence points to crimes by elected officials — such as incitement of violence — he’s prepared to bring the appropriate charges. [Continue reading…]