Justice Department prosecutors have formally walked back their assertion in a court filing that said Capitol rioters sought to “capture and assassinate elected officials.”
Federal prosecutors originally offered the most chilling description yet of rioters who seized the Capitol last week, writing in a court filing that the intention was “to capture and assassinate elected officials.”
The view was included in a memo seeking to keep Jacob Anthony Chansley in detention. Chansley was notable for his headdress, face paint and carrying of a six-foot spear.
“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” government prosecutors wrote.
In a separate case, prosecutors in Texas court alleged that a body armor-clad, retired Air Force reservist may have intended to restrain lawmakers.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was released to home confinement Thursday after a prosecutor alleged the former fighter pilot had zip-tie handcuffs on the Senate floor because he planned to take hostages.
“He means to kidnap, restrain, perhaps try, perhaps execute members of the U.S. government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer said. “His prior experience and training make him all the more dangerous.”
Federal prosecutors on Thursday for the first time described last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol as a “violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government” — and one they consider to still be underway.
An Associated Press review of public records, social media posts and videos shows at least 21 current or former members of the U.S. military or law enforcement have been identified as being at or near the Capitol riot, with more than a dozen others under investigation but not yet named. In many cases, those who stormed the Capitol appeared to employ tactics, body armor and technology such as two-way radio headsets that were similar to those of the very police they were confronting.
“Many have specialized training, some have seen combat, and nearly all have been fed disinformation and propaganda from illegitimate sources.”
The FBI is warning of the potential for more bloodshed. In an internal bulletin issued Sunday, the bureau warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks.