The FBI concluded that former President Donald Trump and his supporters were not part of an organized plot of assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 after officials said they failed to find any evidence to support the claim.
Despite having arrested over 570 participants at the January 6 Capitol riots, officials said that the FBI at this point said that the attacks were "not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump."
According to Reuters, a former senior law enforcement official close to the investigation described the participants of the January 6 Capitol riots as "90-95%...one-off cases" and that "5%...of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages."
Stone is a veteran Republican operative who describes himself as a "dirty trickster," while Jones is the founder of a radio show and webcast. Both are Trump supporters and have been involved in pro-Trump events in Washington on January 5, just 24 hours before the attack on Capitol Hill.
FBI officials said that while they did find that cells of protesters, including those from the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keepers had the goal of breaking into the Capitol, they did not find any evidence of any plans of what they would do once they breached the gates.
The investigative bureau alleged that a Proud Boy leader recruited members and ordered them to stockpile military equipment weeks before the attack, during which they coordinated multiple entries into Capitol Hill. But prosecutors failed to charge them with more serious crimes such as seditious conspiracy or racketeering.
"The FBI has so far found no evidence that [Trump] or people directly around him were involved in organizing the violence," four current and former law officials concluded, as per the report.
On January 6, just moments before the Capitol riots, then President Trump gave a speech at the "Save America" rally, in which he said the election had been stolen from him, The Blaze reported. Former President Trump said during the speech, "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."
Before Trump could finish his speech, however, the leftist group known as Antifa were already holding a protest in the Capitol.
According to NPR, Democrats have highlighted one line in former President Trump's speech which they believed instigated the violence at the Capitol: "We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."
The former president's defense lawyers however, argued that his words were "not a call for actual violence and lawlessness," which the FBI would later find no evidence of. The January 6 Capitol riots did result in over 100 injuries among police officers who were overwhelmed by the crowd of Trump's supporters and the violent rioters among them.
Upon breaching security at the gates, the crowd trespassed inside the building and attacked the offices of members of the Congress, forcing them to evacuate. They also stole government property and hunted down lawmakers.