Michael Sherwin donned workout clothes, rather than his customary suit and tie, on the morning of Jan. 6 and went down to the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. to mingle in the crowd at Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally. But he wasn’t there to support the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Sherwin was there in his capacity as the then-acting U.S. attorney in the nation’s capital and his goal was to blend in and observe the crowd. In an interview Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes” the career federal prosecutor said the atmosphere at the event first thing in the morning was like “a carnival environment.” As speaker after speaker – Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rudy Giuliani and then the president himself – repeatedly urged the crowd to “fight” to keep Trump in office Sherwin says he noticed the mood turn darker and angrier.
“There were people tacked up in Kevlar vests and military helmets and I noticed that those individuals left the speeches early,” Sherwin recalls. He went with them and saw the crowd become aggressive toward law enforcement. “Where initially it had been pro-Trump it became more anti-government, anti-Congress, anti-institutional.”
Sherwin says that the multiple groups of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys militia members who coordinated their movements and military-style equipment in advance is evidence that the deadly riot was a carefully coordinated insurrectionist effort that will cause federal prosecutors to charge large numbers of the rioters with sedition. Federal law makes conspiring to overthrow or oppose by force federal authority punishable by up to 20 years in prison, including the use of violence to prevent, hinder or delay the execution of law.
“I personally believe the evidence is trending toward that, and probably meets those elements,” Mr. Sherwin said. “I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.”
According to “60 Minutes,” in unaired portions of the interview Sherwin debunked claims about left-wing extremists posing as Trump supporters, as has previously been claimed by riot revisionists like Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.)
You can watch the entire interview below, courtesy of CBS and “60 Minutes.”