Senate Judiciary chair zeroes in on the FBI's 'troubling' failures before the Capitol riot
FBI Director Christopher Wray Screen cap/YouTube

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin is among the Democrats in the U.S. Senate who is demanding answers about the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building by far-right extremists. The Illinois Democrat, in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday, inquired about "deeply troubling reports suggesting" that the FBI failed to "use its sources in the Proud Boys to develop intelligence about the January 6, 2021 insurrection."

The Proud Boys is among the far-right groups whose members are facing criminal charges in connection with the January 6 attack. Other extremist groups implicated in the attack include members of the Oath Keepers and the QAnon conspiracy cult. Durbin didn't mention QAnon at all in his letter to Wray, but the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman had a lot to say about the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

Durbin told Wray, "In your recent appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, you testified that the January 6 insurrection was an act of domestic terrorism whose perpetrators included violent White supremacists and a 'large and growing number' of militia violent extremists who associate with militias such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. Following your appearance, evidence has continued to mount that adherents of these violent right-wing militias coordinated in advance to attack the Capitol on January 6."

Durbin, in his letter, went on to note that federal prosecutors have "produced evidence of coordination between the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, several of whose members have been indicted for conspiracy."

"Despite clear evidence that these violent extremists coordinated in advance," Durban told Wray, "the FBI does not appear to have warned of potential violence targeting the January 6 Joint Session of Congress until January 5, 2021 — and even then, the FBI's warning was limited to a Situational Information Report that you have characterized as 'raw, unverified' intelligence. The FBI's failure to issue a formal intelligence bulleting or other finished intelligence product addressing potential violence on January 6 is deeply concerning, particularly given the prevalence of publicly available social media posts discussing plans to 'occupy' and 'storm' Congress."

Durbin concluded his letter by asking Wray to respond "no later than May 24, 2021."

The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building followed then-President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, D.C., where he continued to promote the false and thoroughly debunked claim that widespread voter fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election. The Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol were hoping to stop Congress from counting the votes affirming now-President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump; regardless, the counting later went ahead as scheduled, and Biden was inaugurated two weeks later.