Jan. 6 'likely the largest single-day mass assault' on law enforcement in US history: DC US attorney

The Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is "likely the largest single day mass assault of law enforcement officers in our nation's history," D.C. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said in remarks Thursday, and three years later, the Justice Department's sprawling investigation into the riot remains far from over with the hunt still on for dozens of participants who are believed to have assaulted officers.

In a nearly hourlong on-camera briefing with reporters, Graves detailed how prosecutors have sought to hold those responsible for the violence accountable -- from individuals involved in various violent assaults, to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who organized ahead of the riot and have since been convicted of engaging in seditious conspiracies to halt the electoral certification.

It's the first time Graves has delivered extensive on-camera remarks, providing an overview of his office's investigation into the attack, and comes as public polling suggests more Americans than ever are likely to downplay the significance of the Jan. 6 assault or believe in conspiracy theories that it was instigated by the FBI.

MORE: Organizers of Jan. 6 rally withheld information that would have changed security plans, says government report

PHOTO: Matthew M. Graves, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia speaks at a news conference in Washington, Jan. 4, 2024. (ABC News)
PHOTO: Matthew M. Graves, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia speaks at a news conference in Washington, Jan. 4, 2024. (ABC News)

Graves' presentation included a detailed look at the evidence amassed by prosecutors that, to date, his office has only detailed in court filings or in trials at the D.C. federal courthouse -- repeatedly trying to underscore the seriousness of the day's events and the threat the mob posed to lawmakers and American democracy.

"It's critical that we remember the collective harm that was done on Jan. 6, 2021, and understand how it happened, so that we can ensure it never happens again," Graves said Thursday.

PHOTO: Supporters of President Donald Trump try to force their way through a police barricade in front of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021. (Kent Nishimura/USA Today Network)
PHOTO: Supporters of President Donald Trump try to force their way through a police barricade in front of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021. (Kent Nishimura/USA Today Network)

Graves' remarks focused solely on the conduct of those involved in the riot, sidestepping any direct mention of former President Donald Trump -- who has been charged separately by special counsel Jack Smith over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

PHOTO: Insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.  (Jose Luis Magana/AP)
PHOTO: Insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Prosecutors have so far charged more than 1,200 individuals in connection with the attack and secured nearly 900 convictions. Investigators are also still seeking the identities of more than 80 individuals believed to have assaulted police officers, Graves said, and the FBI is releasing a new "most wanted" list Thursday requesting tips from the public on those who committed some of the more egregious assaults.

He noted that the statute of limitations will run out for most of those not yet charged for their conduct in January of 2026, showing how prosecutors are running against a clock in many cases.

MORE: Trump wants special counsel held in contempt for allegedly violating stay in Jan. 6 case

PHOTO: Matthew M. Graves, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia speaks at a news conference in Washington, Jan. 4, 2024. (ABC News)
PHOTO: Matthew M. Graves, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia speaks at a news conference in Washington, Jan. 4, 2024. (ABC News)

Without directly addressing falsehoods pushed by many Trump allies that the crowd was harmless or "unarmed," Graves underscored that many of those who assaulted the Capitol were indeed heavily armed -- showing photos of guns, pepper spray, axes, hatchet, knives, bats and other weapons in the possession of various rioters who have been federally charged.

"We will never know all the weapons that were on the Capitol grounds because very few in the mob were actually arrested on Jan. 6," Graves said.

Jan. 6 'likely the largest single-day mass assault' on law enforcement in US history: DC US attorney originally appeared on abcnews.go.com