Popular right-wing figures Alex Jones and Roger Stone could potentially face charges of incitement related to the January 6 Capitol riots.
Jones, the founder of conspiracy media organisation Infowars, spoke to protesters at Freedom Plaza in Washington, urging them “to resist the globalists” as former President Donald Trump advanced claims the 2020 election was rigged.
“We are investigating potential ties between those physically involved in the attack on the Capitol and individuals who may have influenced them, such as Roger Stone, Alex Jones and Ali Alexander (the organiser for Stop the Steal),” an anonymous US official told The Washington Post.
Officials say their investigation will attempt to see if enough responsibility can be placed on the individuals to justify potential criminal charges, such as conspiracy or aiding the effort.
However, they admit the outcome is “distant” and uncertain.
Jones was recorded speaking to protesters, claiming they were “under attack from globalists” in a new form of “21st century warfare”.
The Texas-based broadcaster, who has been on-air for more than 20 years, has spent his career opposing authoritarianism, building a giant audience of online contrarians in the process.
He has appeared at numerous political rallies around the US, becoming somewhat of a figurehead of the anti-Establishment movement.
“I don’t know how all this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one,” Jones said at the rally. “We’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing.”
However, lawyer Marc Randazza said the video shows the conspiracy show host urging for calm, in the crowd.
“If you wish to know what Alex Jones’ role was (on January 6) you need look no further than the video,” Mr Randazza said.
Jones was recorded shouting from an inaugural stage, “Let’s not fight the police and give the system what they want. I have specifically denounced the violence at the Capitol, the intrusion in the Capitol. That’s not how we settle things in America.”
Stone, a long-time ally of Mr Trump who has previously published a book suggesting Lyndon B. Johnson was behind John F. Kennedy’s assassination, has also been eyed by investigators.
Speaking to Trump supporters the day before the riots, Stone said there was “an epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light … the godly and the godless … good and evil”.
Stone’s lawyer Grant Smith rebuked claims his client could be pinned as an aggressor, saying it was a classic case of “guilt by association”.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that Roger Stone was involved in any way, or had advance knowledge about the shocking attack that took place at the US Capitol on January 6,” he said.
“Any implication to the contrary using ‘guilt by association’ is both dishonest and inaccurate.”
First Amendment lawyer Ken White said the investigations will bring about a long period of legal muddy water for both sides in what has been a rollercoaster start to the year for the embattled country fighting to repair itself.
“It’s incredibly hard under current law to say that someone like Alex Jones saying something a day or a week before is going to meet that standard as the law has been interpreted,” Mr White said.
“I anticipate that you will see increasingly creative alternative approaches by federal prosecutors, like conspiracy.”