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The FBI asked for tips about people ‘instigating violence’ at the Capitol — and people pointed at Trump and others

Responses to the agency’s request on Twitter may not have been the ones they were expecting.

Supporters of President Donald Trump, including Jake Angeli (center), a QAnon supporter known for his painted face and horned hat, entered the Capitol on Wednesday.
Supporters of President Donald Trump, including Jake Angeli (center), a QAnon supporter known for his painted face and horned hat, entered the Capitol on Wednesday.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI took to Twitter Thursday morning to ask people to share videos and pictures of people who may have instigated the violence that erupted when a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol building.

But the tips that flooded in may not have been exactly what the agency was looking for.

Thousands of people responded to the FBI’s call for assistance, with many quipping that the person investigators may want to speak with is currently residing at the White House.

“Did some hard journalistic investigating here and I think I’ve got your answer boys, no need to thank me,” one person wrote in a tweet that included a screenshot of President Donald Trump.

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“His Twitter handle is @realDonaldTrump & you already have his address,” another replied.

The FBI’s inquiry came after a pro-Trump mob seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election rushed the US Capitol Wednesday, pushing past police and forcing elected officials to take shelter inside the building. Four people died in the chaos, according to reports.

At the time, Congress was meeting to count the electoral college votes reaffirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

Just hours before the unrest began, Trump addressed his supporters at a rally near the White House, where he called the election results “false” and “fraudulent” and urged attendees to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to the Capitol following the speech.

“We’re going to try and give our Republicans — the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help — we are going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country,” Trump said.

Once order was restored Wednesday, Congress reconvened and confirmed Biden as the presidential election winner. After the vote, Trump said in a statement Thursday “there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

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But when the FBI tweeted it was accepting “digital media depicting rioting or violence in and around the U.S. Capitol on January 6” to identify those who invaded the building, the scorn — and snark — was swift.

“How about starting with Donald Trump and his 128 co-conspirators in the House and Senate?” Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark replied.

“Found one,” said US Representative Karen Bass of California, who shared a picture of Trump on stage at a rally.

Others implicated Trump’s children, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump, as well as the president’s longtime lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who called for a “trial by combat” over the election results at Wednesday’s rally before Trump appeared on stage.

“Let’s start here,” Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro tweeted to the FBI, tagging the usernames of Trump, Giuliani, and several others.

The most frequent sardonic tip: simply take a walk down to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

“Start at the West Wing and work your way down fellas,” one person replied.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.