On January 6, Congress held a joint session to nationally certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, which saw then-President-elect Joe Biden defeat then-President Donald Trump in the race for the White House.
What for decades was a standard post-election procedure was thrust into infamy when a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol, fueled by Trump's incessant lies that Democrats orchestrated widespread election fraud to deliver Biden a false victory.
At least five people died as a result of the attack, which also endangered the lives of every lawmaker present.
The riots led to Trump's second impeachment by the House and second acquittal by the Senate in the subsequent impeachment trial.
But while Congress may be done evaluating Trump's role in the calamity that day, U.S. intelligence agencies are still investigating what happened in the failed insurrection.
A report from The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein and Eric Lichtblau details steps taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to secure "thousands of phone and electronic records" from those at the scene of the riot, including from members of Congress.
Within hours of the storming of the Capitol, the FBI seized thousands of phone records — including from members of… https://t.co/OlsXKgE661— Ken Klippenstein (@Ken Klippenstein) 1614015572.0
According to the report, the FBI gathered the data immediately after the riots using extrajudicial emergency powers and other means.
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of Trump's most submissive supporters even after the riots, decried the news on Twitter as an overstep on the part of the FBI.
This story is jaw-dropping. We should hold hearings in the House Judiciary Committee to review how and why the FBI… https://t.co/8X2PGVAj0v— Matt Gaetz (@Matt Gaetz) 1614122124.0
While the FBI's surveillance has sparked concerns about its surveillance powers, Gaetz's condemnation comes amid speculation that far-right members of Congress may have aided the rioters inadvertently or otherwise.
QAnon devotees in the House—Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO)—likened the opposition on January 6 to a "1776 moment" before the riots began. Congress members have confirmed that, in the days before the riots, Boebert gave a tour of the Capitol to a "large" group, despite the suspension of Capitol tours in light of the pandemic. Boebert also tweeted updates on lawmakers' locations as the riots were ongoing.
There's growing evidence that far-right extremist group The Proud Boys played a substantial role in coordinating the riot. As recently as this past October, Gaetz himself used Proud Boys members as event security.
The entanglement of far-right members of Congress and the extremism that sparked the riots had some speculating Gaetz's rebuke of the data-gathering was motivated by self-preservation.
What's on your phone records? Why don't you want every possible lead investigated in this cop murdering coup att… https://t.co/LKyr3ED6HZ— Shannon in Ohio 4 (@Shannon in Ohio 4) 1614177030.0
Looks like Matt's a little worried😉 https://t.co/Y9uy3km1x7— Cheri Jacobus (@Cheri Jacobus) 1614138942.0
This confirms that @mattgaetz is guilty AF https://t.co/Mijp71L2hk— Rob Gill (@Rob Gill) 1614173598.0
Hit dogs..... https://t.co/MQ4A5zdRIr— Star. Gentle. Uterus. 🇬🇾🇺🇲 💛 (@Star. Gentle. Uterus. 🇬🇾🇺🇲 💛) 1614176985.0
Matt realizing the FBI knows and has evidence. https://t.co/HUEc2Dj5Kc— Once Republican ...and we're back... (@Once Republican ...and we're back...) 1614176034.0
You'd think a Congressman would want to know who among his fellow Congresspeople may have been working with the tra… https://t.co/vClLxhZjvX— Bread & Circuses 🍞🎪 (@Bread & Circuses 🍞🎪) 1614128639.0
Some expect the data collection will lead to jaw-dropping revelations.
THE FBI has cell phone records for Members of Congress from Jan 6. THIS IS GOING TO BE INTERESTING.— Julie Pillay (@Julie Pillay) 1614025321.0
It will be interesting to see what Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert’s were up to before and during! #waleg https://t.co/LrcvnqJhm9— Town Post (@Town Post) 1614160171.0
Very curious to find out what the records show... https://t.co/ddP17x49HK— 🌊 mccgriffin 🌊 (@🌊 mccgriffin 🌊) 1614087492.0
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has vowed to organize a special committee investigating the failed insurrection.