‘The Capitol is a crime scene': Federal law enforcement officials open 170 case files in connection with riots

Federal law enforcement officials on Tuesday said they’ve opened 170 subject files, and charged about 70 in the wake of a violent riot that struck the U.S. Capitol building last week. 

READ MORE: 50,000 tips connected to Capitol riots; charges, including sedition, on the table

In addition, the FBI says it notified other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Capitol Police, the day before the riot regarding a "war" and storming the U.S. Capitol.

Officials say some of the misdemeanor charges brought against the people who sieged the Capitol were intended as placeholder counts and that more serious charges including sedition are possible.

READ MORE: Photo of protester possibly linked to Capitol police officer’s death released

They also said they expect that number to "grow into the hundreds." Those suspected in connection with the unprecedented event could face sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

During the news conference, prosecutors emphasized the scope and singularity of such an undertaking, noting that the entire Capitol grounds – inside and out – is being treated as a crime scene.

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The incident began with a rally featuring President Donald Trump – who repeated his claims that the results of the 2020 Election were fraudulent, and encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol.

Shortly after, protesters quickly overwhelmed Capitol police and stormed the building, putting a temporary halt to the Electoral College vote count that would ultimately cement President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory.

According to law enforcement, some protesters were targeting and attacking members of the media, and that they’ve established specific task forces for each layer of the investigation.

On Tuesday night, authorities released a new poster with more photos of people who unlawfully entered the Capitol last week.