Officials from the Department of Justice may be considering not prosecuting every rioter who illegally breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to reporting by the Washington Post Saturday – a move that could prove controversial.
The publication reported that the Justice Department is in the early stages of discussing this route, but Fox News could not reach the department to confirm the decision.
Roughly 120 people have been charged with the storming of the Capitol earlier this month, though with hundreds of other pro-Trump supporters who charged the legislative building, federal prosecutors could be looking at years of pumping cases through the courts.
Acting U.S. Attorney for District of Columbia Michael Sherwin vowed to “bring the most maximum charges we can based upon the conduct.”
“We’re not going to keep anything out of our arsenal for potential charges,” Sherwin said at a news conference earlier this month. “We will bring the most maximum charges we can based upon the conduct.”
Federal prosecutors have said that there is evidence that at least some of the rioters who charged the building, did so with the intent to “capture and assassinate” elected officials.
Videos that emerged during and following the event on social media showed several individuals calling out the names of specific lawmakers, like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and former Vice President Mike Pence – suggesting they were targeting the elected officials.
Neither Pelosi nor Ocasio-Cortez could be immediately reached for comment, but both have responded to the attack on the Capitol with aggressive push back.
Pelosi led the charge to see President Trump impeached from the White House for the second time, following the attack.
“We know that the president of the United State incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in the lead up to the vote. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
And Ocasio-Cortez has pushed to have Republican lawmakers, who objected to certain state’s Electoral College votes, removed from office.
An estimated 800 people charged the Capitol in protest of the Electoral College results, largely due to Trump’s continued claims that the election was “rigged,” even though the Justice Department asserted there was no evidence of wide spread election fraud.
Some federal officials now believe that those who did not engage in violent or threatening behavior in the Capitol should not be charged, despite having committed “unlawful entry” of the Capitol building, reported the Washington Post.