Michael Sherwin, the federal prosecutor who led the Justice Department’s investigation into the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol, has indicated that suspects could face charges of sedition for their actions that day.
In an interview on 60 Minutes that aired Sunday, the former acting U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., said the investigation has so far resulted in 400 defendants facing a variety of charges and that sedition could potentially be on the list.
“I personally believe the evidence is trending towards that and probably meets those elements,” Sherwin said. “I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.”
Sherwin, who previously worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Miami, held the acting U.S. Attorney role under President Donald Trump and was asked to stay on through the transition by President Joe Biden. Channing Phillips was recently named the new acting U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., with Sherwin having served his last day Friday.
Sherwin was personally on the scene that day with D.C. police, saying the initial “carnival environment” soon escalated, particularly with the appearance of people in militarized gear.
“You could see it was getting more riled up. And more people with bullhorns chanting and yelling. And it became more aggressive,” Sherwin said.
He added, “Where it was initially pro-Trump, it digressed to anti-government, anti-Congress, anti-institutional. And then I eventually saw people climbing the scaffolding. The scaffolding was being set up for the Inauguration. When I saw people climbing up the scaffolding, hanging from it, hanging flags, I was like, This is going bad fast.”
Sherwin implied that the investigators are analyzing whether former President Trump was partly responsible for the events on January 6. He mentioned that some rioters directly cited Trump’s words as their motivation for storming the Capitol, while others believed that what the former president said didn’t go far enough and that action was required.
“It’s unequivocal that Trump was the magnet that brought the people to D.C. on the 6th. Now the question is, Is he criminally culpable for everything that happened during the siege, during the breach?” Sherwin said.
When asked directly if the Justice Department was looking into Trump’s role in the Capitol siege, Sherwin said, “We have people looking at everything, correct. Everything’s being looked at.”