Pro-Trump rioters can be jailed for "injury of federal property" under an executive order that was previously signed by the president

By Nicholas Rice
January 08, 2021 09:31 AM
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Rioters, who stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. in support of President Donald Trump, during the meeting to ratify the Electoral College presidential election votes on Wednesday, could face serious punishments under Trump's recent executive order.

On Thursday, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen shared a statement, which noted that those responsible for the recent riots at the Capitol would "face the full consequences of their actions under the law."

"Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order.  The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law," Rosen said. "Our criminal prosecutors have been working throughout the night with special agents and investigators from the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, ATF, Metropolitan Police Department and the public to gather the evidence, identify perpetrators, and charge federal crimes where warranted."

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Jan. 6
| Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty

"Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law," he added.

Capitol Riots

The pro-Trump rioters are able to be punished with a maximum of 10 years in prison for "injury of federal property" under an executive order that was previously signed by Trump, 74, amid racial injustice protests that occurred last year. In his statement, Rosen, 62, did not mention any specific punishments or refer to the executive order.

Back in June, Trump highlighted the Veteran's Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003 and said he wanted "up to 10 years in prison" for anyone who vandalized or attempted to vandalize federal monuments.

"I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence," Trump tweeted on June 26. "Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!"

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In a follow-up statement, Trump added, "This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!"

That same month, the president claimed to reporters outside the White House that he would sign an executive order "very shortly" in order to bolster the 2003 law he referred to on Twitter.

"All it’s going to do is reinforce what’s already there, but in a more uniform way," he said at the time.

RELATED VIDEO: Pro-Trump Rioters Storm U.S. Capitol, Forcing Evacuation of Lawmakers

On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) called for help in identifying those who participated in the Wednesday riots.

"The FBI is seeking information that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, DC.," the FBI wrote in a statement on its website. "If you have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant at fbi.gov/USCapitol."

"Please use this form to submit any images, videos, or other multimedia files you have related to possible violations of federal law committed. Our goal is to preserve the public’s constitutional right to protest by protecting everyone from violence and other criminal activity," the bureau added. "You may also call ‪1-800-CALL-FBI (1-‪800-225-5324) to verbally report tips and/or information related to this investigation."

Police have confirmed that at least five people have died and several dozen police officers were injured during the violent events.