Updated Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Feds walk back DOJ memo saying Capitol rioters sought to "capture and assassinate"

Jacob Chansley, in fur hat with horns, talks with a police officer during the Jan. 6, 2021, takeover of the Capitol by Trump supporters.

A U.S. Capitol police officer talks to supporters of US President Donald Trump, including Jacob Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli (R), a QAnon supporter known for his painted face and horned hat, on Jan. 6. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The top federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., said Friday that there is "no direct evidence of kill and capture teams" among Capitol rioters, walking back claims by federal prosecutors in Arizona, who said in court documents that rioters sought to "capture and assassinate elected officials," per USA Today.

The state of play: The prosecutors in Arizona made the claims in a detention memo late Thursday against Jacob Chansley — the man photographed wearing horns while standing at Vice President Mike Pence's desk in the Senate chambers. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona told Reuters prosecutors plan to file an amended memo later Friday.

  • Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said Friday that there may have been a “disconnect” between his office, which is leading the prosecution effort, and local offices on the evidence obtained so far in the cases, per Reuters.

The big picture: The FBI is tracking over 200 suspects related to the breach at the Capitol. While many are being detained and charged over acts of physical violence, Chansley's charges "involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government."

  • Prosecutors note that mental illness and drug abuse may contribute to his behavior.
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