'What did you see? Who was there?': Feds home in on links between Jan. 6 rioters and Trump’s inner circle
Capitol Insurrectionists (Shutterstock)

Federal investigators are asking Jan. 6 rioters about their possible links with Donald Trump's inner circle.

Prosecutors have asked members of the Oath Keepers, who are accused of organizing the attack, and even defendants facing low-level charges about their contacts with Trump allies such as Roger Stone, reported USA Today.

“They asked a ton of open-ended questions when I was allowed to be there," said Brian Lockwood, an attorney representing Oath Keepers member Mark Grods. "What happened next? What did you see? Who was there? What did you see them doing? What were they wearing? What were they doing? Did you see them communicating with other people?"

Brandon Straka, a MAGA influencer who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to probation, was also questioned about his possible contacts with Trump's inner circle.

“During the interviews, the government was focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between defendant, President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president, to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress on January 6,” said his attorney Bilal Essayli. “Defendant answered all questions truthfully and denied the existence of any such plot.”

Legal experts say that type of questioning is standard for large-scale cases like the insurrection, and doesn't necessarily mean that Trump or his associates are targets of the investigation.

"The technical term for Trump and most people the government is asking about this early is probably ‘subjects,’” said Patrick Cotter, who has prosecuted organized crime cases. “Subjects are people about whom the feds have not made any determination: They may turn out to be targets or witnesses."

Investigators are particularly interested in the rioters' expectation that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act to prevent the certification of Joe Biden's election win, according to court records and defense lawyers.

“I'm just a small lawyer down in Mobile,” said Lockwood, the Oath Keeper's lawyer, "but I'm confident that the government believes that the intent of the Jan. 6 incident was to trigger the president at the time to invoke the Insurrection Act."