US Justice Department charges 55 in Capitol riots, with 15 criminal cases to follow

Asked if President Donald Trump could be charged, acting US attorney for DC says department is looking at all involved

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The acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, on Thursday said 55 people were charged after the Capitol siege by pro-Trump rioters and the Justice Department was looking at everyone involved.

Mr Sherwin, speaking a day after the events that shook the Capitol and left four dead, said 55 people were charged with offences including unlawful entry, assault to theft, desecration and destruction of federal property, and concealing weapons.

One had a "military-style semi-automatic weapon and 11 Molotov cocktails", he said. “[They] were ready to go."

Prosecutors are expected to file 15 criminal cases related to the Capitol events.

Asked about US President Donald Trump's culpability in urging his supporters to march to the Capitol, Mr Sherwin said the Justice Department was looking at all involved.

“We’re looking at all actors here and anyone who had a role, and if the evidence fits the elements of the crime, they’re going to be charged.”

More charges will be coming, Mr Sherwin said. “That’s a good start but in no regard is this the end."

Mr Sherwin said that when all charges were laid, the Justice Department’s action would be swift and strong.

“We’re not going to keep anything out of our arsenal.”

Mr Sherwin did not spare the Capitol Police from criticism.

He said the Capitol Police “made our job more difficult", with security lapses that allowed rioters to breach the building.

“Why they weren't zip-tied as they left the building, I don’t know,” he said of escaping rioters.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would ask for the resignation of Capitol Police chief Steven Sund and that Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving would be resigning.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he would fire Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Stenger after Democrats take the chamber’s majority at the end of the month.

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