RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As videos and pictures continue to be released of the January 6th riot on the U.S. Capitol so have the pleas from the FBI for the public to help identify the faces. They include people from North Carolina who the FBI and Department of Justice claim were among those who were part of the insurrection.
The tactic has proven to be largely successful so far.
“People are being turned in or reported or suspected by not just somebody who recognizes them, sometimes they’re friends and they’re family and co-workers… it’s a massive scale,” said Raleigh attorney and former federal prosecutor Josh Howard.
Howard said the scale of investigation is like none other before.
“Right now the latest number I’ve seen is the number 750 that have been charged or arrested in relation to the riot and that would be a good number of cases for say the Eastern District of North Carolina to bring any given year,” he said.
But how did it get to that point? What were all the workings before it? Who was involved? What drove the person next door to be a part of it?
Duke University history professor and author Nancy MacLean said people want answers to those questions.
“Certainly democrats, certainly independents but also a great number of republicans understand that criminal actions occurred. 140 police officers were injured that day, people died from this event and most importantly the threat of election sabotage is ongoing,” she said.
MacLean believes it’s imperative that we get all the answers as this chapter of history that will be documented and written about for ages.
“I think as Americans we all believe in transparency, we all believe in fairness, we all believe that when the votes are counted the victors should be declared and those who lost should concede,” MacLean added. “That is our national tradition that is the only way that we’ve become the strong and powerful country that we are. So we really, really need to take a deep breath and look at the evidence.”
Josh Howard, a republican who has represented Madison Cawthorn, believes the evidence has been handled fairly by the Justice Department.
“I have tremendous respect for the prosecutors handling this, I know some of them. It’s just so unprecedented that you can’t easily compare it to anything else. There are no benchmarks to measure this against, measure their performance,” said Howard.
Howard said he also believes it’s too early to judge how well the congressional committee has done with it’s own investigation.
MacLean said what has been released to the public thus far shows what she believes is a well thought out plan.
“There was actually a calculation that because republican elected officials associated with the MAGA faction controlled so many state legislatures they thought that they could switch the electors and then that they could bring out a crazy marginal constitutional theory called The Independent State Legislatures Doctrine to enable all this,” said MacLean.
“They thought if they could delay long enough the election would be thrown to congress—and the system that is in place, if that happens—is that every state has one vote regardless of population size. So Wyoming counts the same as California. And in that system because the MAGA associated republicans controlled legislatures th thought they could have a done deal. They thought they could totally overthrow the will of the voters, overturn a legitimate election and hold on to power,” she said.
MacLean said people need to watch the live hearings to come to a conclusion and to be able to truly understand what’s at risk.
“I understand that people are busy, we have a thousand claims on our time, we’re exhausted from the pandemic and so many other things but this is a time to really listen up because the future of our country is at stake.”
The hearing will air at 8 p.m. EST Thursday and is the first in a series that will continue through June.