Federal prosecutors believe that the largely pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol last week aimed to “capture and assassinate elected officials.”
That claim was mentioned in court documents that prosecutors filed late Thursday in the case against Jacob Chansley. Most people will recognize him as the man who took part in the riot while sporting face paint, many tattoos, no shirt, and a furry hat with horns.
Chansley is also known as the "QAnon Shaman" or Jake Angeli, and some people had incorrectly claimed he was an Antifa activist, but he turned out to be a pro-Trumper.
Still, Reuters contradicts the "assassination" claim, reporting a Justice Department official says there's no 'direct evidence' of a plot to kidnap or kill lawmakers in the US Capitol attack.
"We don't have any direct evidence of kill capture teams," Reuters reports Michael Sherwin, the US attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a press conference on Friday.
Meanwhile, security is tightening around the US Capitol as Inauguration Day draws near. And officials continue to monitor threats directed at Washington and statehouses around the country.
Security has been growing by the day on Capitol Hill which is now surrounded by seven-foot fencing topped with razor wire. And 21,000 National Guard troops have been deployed there for the inauguration.
There are now more troops in Washington, DC than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And that doesn't include the army of police officers on standby as well. Officials do not want to see a repeat of last week's riot.
The work of holding people accountable for the riot continues. So far, 80 cases have been charged in federal court, 34 people have been arrested, and the FBI has identified more than 200 suspects.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said, "We know who you are if you're out there, and FBI agents are coming to find you."
"We're looking at individuals who may have an eye towards repeating that same kind of violence that we saw last week," he said. "Anybody who plots or attempts violence in the coming weeks should count on a visit."
Authorities say they are sifting through roughly 140,000 digital media tips, many of them containing threats to inauguration security.
It was announced Friday that the National Mall could be closed during next week's inauguration for security purposes. And state capitols across the country are stepping up security as there has been credible information that statehouses could be targeted as soon as this weekend.
Officials are also reportedly investigating news reports that the riot against the Capitol was pre-planned by malicious individuals long before the president's speech on the Capitol Mall. House Democrats hastily impeached him over the riot this week, claiming he incited it, but these new revelations appear to undercut their accusations of incitement.
Even the Washington Post has reported, "FBI report warned of 'war' at Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence".
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