U.S. attorney says no direct evidence of kidnapping plot at Capitol

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Washington, Jan. 16, 2021 (dpa/NAN) The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said there was no direct evidence of “kill/capture teams” attempting to kidnap lawmakers during riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Attorney Michael Sherwin made the statement after a separate U.S. attorney office in Arizona had accused rioters of seeking to “capture and assassinate” lawmakers.

Prosecutors in Arizona made the assessment in a filing requesting that a judge detain Jacob Chansley, one of the mob leaders, who was photographed with a horned bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint and a bare torso.

“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,” prosecutors said in the court filing.

But Sherwin contradicted those statements while speaking to reporters on Friday saying there was a “disconnect” among federal law enforcement, according to a report in U.S. public radio.

The Arizona prosecutors accuse Chansley of “active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States Government.”

He allegedly left a note on Vice President Mike Pence’s dais, warning that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Pence had earned Trump’s wrath for rebuffing the president’s demand to declare him the winner of the election during Congress’ session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Chansley, a known supporter of the QAnon movement, was due to appear in court later on Friday.

Chansley has described himself as “a mystic who receives visions,” the Arizona Republic newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general is to investigate the department’s role in preparing for and responding to last week’s riot, which left five people dead and forced lawmakers into hiding.

In a Friday statement, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his probe would include examining what information the Justice Department had before the attack, whether that information was shared with Capitol police and intelligence agencies, and the role of department personnel in responding to the violence.

Reviews are also being conducted at the Defence, Homeland Security and Interior departments, according to the statement.

Last Wednesday, an angry mob of Trump loyalists stormed Congress and temporarily halted a joint session to certify Biden’s victory in the November election.

Trump spoke at the rally just prior to the attack, using fiery rhetoric to push the unfounded claim that the election was fraudulent.

Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week for inciting an insurrection, becoming the first president in history to be impeached twice.

He now faces a trial in the Senate.

Trump leaves office in five days when Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

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