I’ve been seeing headlines all day that went something like this one from the Daily Caller:
Capitol Rioters Planned To ‘Capture And Assassinate’ Elected Officials, Prosecutors Say
Prosecutors said that rioters intended to “capture and assassinate” lawmakers as they certified the results of the 2020 Presidential election at the Capitol on Jan. 6, court records filed Thursday show.
Prosecutors detailed threats made by Jacob Chansley, a QAnon leader, against Vice President Mike Pence that “justice is coming,” according to court records. Chansley announced that the rioters were there to “take out” multiple lawmakers.
“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,” the prosecutors said.
Not to single them out, as they were just reporting the news that was going around today feverishly.
However I’m glad I didn’t rush to post this story because, as the day would unfold, the DOJ would eventually contradict this story:
The lead prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the Capitol riot backed away Friday from a suggestion in a court filing that participants in the takeover of Congress last week were seeking to take officials prisoner and potentially even execute them.
Images of intruders with zip-tie handcuffs and video of protesters chanting “Hang Mike Pence” have led many lawmakers and other observers to conclude that some in the crowd were intent on capturing — and possibly killing — prisoners.
However, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters Friday that prosecutors don’t have concrete proof of such an effort.
“Right now, we don’t have any direct evidence of kill/capture teams,” Sherwin said.
Sherwin’s contention undercut the flat assertions made by federal prosecutors in Arizona, who described in a court filing Thursday what they called “strong evidence” that Capitol rioters intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government.”
The D.C. prosecutor suggested those claims were the product of miscommunication or lack of coordination in what has become a sprawling investigation seeking to question and arrest suspects who have returned to their home states after traveling to Washington for the pro-Trump protest that turned violent on Jan. 6.
“There were other prosecutors. That may be a disconnect that may be adding information that’s not directly related to what we have,” Sherwin said.
Though Sherwin disclaimed specific knowledge of the rioters’ intent, he said investigators are carefully examining potential planning for the event. The prosecutor seemed to dismiss the notion of an overarching plan, but said officials are looking into the possibility that smaller groups may have coordinated in advance of and during the assault.
When I saw this story today, I honestly rolled my eyes. as it just seemed too far fetched. Plus it’s exactly what the media wants to believe about the Capitol riot, which is why they push this narrative feverishly.
That’s not to say it won’t be true with more investigation, but for a DOJ official to come out this way and say there isn’t any direct evidence to support this, I think it’s doubtful it will go in that direction.