Top federal prosecutor in Michigan seeks tips on Capitol mob
A top federal prosecutor in Michigan on Thursday urged people to give tips to the FBI if they are aware of people who joined a violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, whose jurisdiction covers a 34-county area including metropolitan Detroit, said investigators will review video footage and other evidence. Six Michigan men ranging in age from 25 to 64 were arrested by D.C. police — four for curfew violations, one for unlawful entry and violating the curfew, and one on gun charges.
Those types of crimes will be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., Schneider said. But more serious charges — destruction of property over $1,000, inciting a riot, civil disorder, sedition, using a destructive device like a pipe bomb — could potentially be handled in Michigan, he said, if there are connections to the state.
“It looks like the acts took place in Washington, D.C. But it’s under review right now — what’s the connection of the people in D.C. to the people in Michigan? That’s going to take time to figure out,” Schneider said. “I’m personally disgusted and horrified by this. It’s just nauseating to me. It’s sick what people did inside the Capitol.”
D.C. police said Thursday that 68 people were arrested, while Capitol police said 14 were arrested, most for unlawful entry. More than 50 Capitol and D.C. police were injured, including several who were hospitalized.
“If you’re aware of people who might have traveled from Michigan to go to Washington, D.C., to commit acts of violence, then that could potentially be a federal crime,” Schneider said. “There’s a big difference here between peaceful protests and acts of violence. ... Just because people traveled to Washington, D.C., doesn’t necessarily make them criminals.”
Meshawn Maddock, who is expected to be elected the next co-chair of the state Republican Party, told a crowd in the nation’s capital on Tuesday — a day before the violence — that at least 19 busloads of supporters of President Donald Trump were traveling there from Michigan. Her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, also spoke and was among GOP state lawmakers who unsuccessfully asked Vice President Mike Pence to delay confirmation of Democrat Joe Biden’s win.
Meshawn Maddock told The Associated Press that neither she nor her husband went to the Capitol on Wednesday. They had tried to get into a Trump rally near the White House but arrived late and it was too crowded, she said. So they returned to their hotel room, later watching the Capitol chaos on their TV.
At one point, she retweeted a video of marchers to the Capitol and called it “the most incredible crowd and sea of people I’ve ever walked with.” She said she was referring generally to people she had walked with earlier to The Ellipse park.
“I’m not backing down on why we were there,” she said. “We were there because I’m a grassroots leader and I’m standing up for the people who completely feel like they were robbed of this election. ... We were not part of the Capitol riot. We didn’t go to the Capitol. We didn’t storm the Capitol. We didn’t encourage anybody to storm the Capitol, and I don’t know any of the people that are involved with storming the Capitol.”
Trump told a morning crowd that he would go with protesters to the Capitol, but he did not. Instead he sent them off with incendiary rhetoric.
Some Democratic legislators said Matt Maddock should be censured, while the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee called for his resignation or removal from office. Lynn Afendoulis, spokeswoman for Republican House Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth, said he “hasn’t seen any action on Rep. Maddock’s part that rises to the level of disciplinary action.”
Meshawn Maddock said what happened at the Capitol “is horrifying to me, like everybody else.” Some GOP activists and a liberal group called for Ron Weiser, the unopposed candidate for party chair after Laura Cox announced this week she will not seek reelection, to replace her on the ticket before a February convention.
Incoming House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski wrote a letter to Wentworth saying 18 House Republicans who wrote to Pence or earlier joined futile lawsuits challenging Biden’s victory — nearly a third of the caucus — should repudiate their actions or face discipline, “up to and including not seating them in the 101st Legislature without disavowing their support of unproven conspiracy theories and actions, undermining our democracy and encouraging the violent overthrow of our government.”
The new two-year session begins next week.