Nearly one year after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, three major mysteries remain about the attack, according to NBC News investigative reporter Scott MacFarlane.
"Who planted two pipe bombs the night before the insurrection? Who set up gallows and a noose outside the Capitol? And whose idea, if anyone’s, was it to breach police lines and try to hunt down legislators?" writes MacFarlane, who's spent 2021 closely covering Captiol riot court cases.
The two pipe bombs were discovered moments before the riot began, and the former Capitol police chief told Congress he believed they were intended to "draw resources away" from the siege.
Despite surveillance images and video showing a potential suspect and distributed by the FBI, the person who placed the incendiary devices outside Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee headquarters has not been identified.
"Another unanswered question pertains to a symbol of racial terror on the west front of the Capitol. A gallows and bright orange noose were assembled and hung on Jan. 6," MacFarlane writes, adding that his review of thousands of pages of court filings found no reference to the items.
"Multiple law enforcement officials told News4 the FBI’s Washington Field Office has the noose, raising the prospect that it eventually will be part of a case," he writes.
Finally, with regard to the decision to breach police lines, MacFarlane notes that 40 of the 700 Capitol riot defendants have been charged with conspiracy — accused of plotting the siege as early as November. Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner suggested the question may be answered as more low-level defendants plead guilty and agree to testify against fellow rioters.
"We prosecute from the bottom up, and we’re always hoping to flip the low-level fish against the bigger fish, the kingpins,” Kirschner said.