Ryan: FBI Building Nearly 200 Cases in Siege Aftermath

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Investigators probing the Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol are looking into what role that tours led by Republican members of Congress before the siege might have played, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said.

The FBI is getting close to having 200 cases tied to the siege and has nearly 100,000 photographs and videos, Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said Wednesday evening during a virtual news conference.

“They’ve got a big job on their hands just because of the mass amount of pictures and videos,” he said. More cases will be linked to the incident in the coming days and weeks, he predicted.

Ryan told reporters he and other members of Congress suggested to Capitol Police that all members of Congress should be asked if they had given tours before the siege on the Capitol. He said he only had second-hand information about which members might have been involved and didn’t want to share any names.

“I would hope every member would volunteer that information,” Ryan said. “Were tours being given where people within the tour were doing some level of reconnaissance? We need to find that out.”

Such tours wouldn’t necessarily mean that the elected official was conspiring, but, he said, “We should be looking into every single aspect of this.”

Investigators are probing about 20 incidents involving law enforcement’s action that day, Ryan said. Two who remain under suspicion include an officer who took a selfie with one of the individuals who invaded the Capitol Building and one shown wearing a Make America Great Again hat and directing people through the building.

Ryan said he envisions a joint committee being set up to investigate the Jan. 6 siege, one that he hopes will remain a standing committee to address the security issues created by the “new normal.” He complained that members of Congress were having difficulty getting information from Capitol Police about the investigation.

“We don’t need to know all the details, but we’re talking about an inauguration. We have members of Congress bringing their spouses here. We have issues with the panic button for a member of Congress,” he said, referring to panic buttons that were reportedly removed from the office of Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley in the days before the breach. “These are all things that we want to know. People want to trust that when we come here and work here, given the level of threat, that we have some level of confidence.”

Despite the apparent communication failures that took place last week, Ryan said he had confidence in the ability of the rank and file of the Capitol Police to provide security next week. The Capitol Police will operate under the guidance of the U.S. Secret Service, which takes the lead on inaugural events.

Regarding conflicting claims about when agencies were notified about the possibility of violence Jan. 6, Ryan said the “intricacies of the day” won’t be known until the proposed commission can get the information they need and do the investigation.

Ryan’s news conference followed Wednesday afternoon’s impeachment vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ryan joined all House Democrats and 10 Republicans who voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump for his role in last week’s assault on the capitol. The House Republicans who supported the resolution “did so at great political peril,” he said.

“They put their careers on the line over this issue,” he said.

Following the vote, Trump released a video plea for calm amid reports that more violent protests were planned in the Capitol; leading up to Inauguration Day as well as in state capitals this weekend.

“No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag,” Trump said in the video. He called on his supporters to think of ways to “ease tensions, calm tempers and help to promote peace in our country.”

Ryan characterized Trump’s state,emt as “an attempt to salvage some shred of dignity and move on to his post-presidential life.”

Ryan also said he supported House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that House members will be fined for not going through newly installed metal detectors as they enter the House chamber. They will be fined $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second.

“It’s entirely appropriate to keep everybody safe, to make sure everybody’s following the rules,” he said.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.