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US says Capitol mob meant to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials | Politics News

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US Justice Department brought more than 80 criminal cases in connection with violent riots at the US Capitol on January 6.

US prosecutors now believe supporters of President Donald Trump planned to “capture and assassinate elected officials” in their siege of the Capitol building last week, according to a new court filing.

The filing, submitted by Justice Department lawyers late on Thursday, sought the detention of Jacob Chansley of Arizona, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who was photographed wearing horns standing at the desk of Vice President Mike Pence in the chamber of the US Senate.

“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 wrote.

The detention memo, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, goes into greater detail about the FBI’s investigation into Chansley, revealing that he left a note for Pence warning that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming”.

A public defender representing Chansley could not be reached immediately for comment. Chansley is due to appear in a federal court on Friday.

The prosecutors’ assessment comes as they and federal agents have begun bringing more serious charges tied to violence at the Capitol, including revealing cases on Thursday against one man, retired firefighter Robert Sanford, on charges that he hurled a fire extinguisher at the head of one police officer and another, Peter Stager, of beating a different officer with a pole bearing an American flag.

In Chansley’s case, prosecutors said the charges “involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government”, and warned that “the insurrection is still in progress” as law enforcement prepares for more demonstrations in Washington, DC and state capitals.

They also suggested he suffers from drug abuse and mental illness, and told the judge he poses a serious flight risk.

“Chansley has spoken openly about his belief that he is an alien, a higher being, and he is here on Earth to ascend to another reality,” they wrote.

The Justice Department has brought more than 80 criminal cases in connection with the violent riots at the US Capitol last week, in which Trump’s supporters stormed the building, ransacked offices and in some cases, attacked police.

The filing gives further insight into the FBI inquiry on the day of chaos, which left elected officials holed up fearing for their lives and at least five people dead, including one police officer.

Many of the people charged so far were easily tracked down by the FBI, which has more than 200 suspects, thanks in large part to videos and photos posted on social media.

Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, has said while many of the initial charges may seem minor, he expects much more serious charges to be filed as the Justice Department continues its investigation.

In a bipartisan vote, Trump was impeached on Wednesday for “incitement of insurrection” by egging on a huge crowd of his supporters to march on Congress.

The centre of Washington, DC was in lockdown early on Friday as more than 20,000 armed National Guard troops were mobilised after officials warned of the threat of more violence at the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, as well as in state capitals.



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US says it has jabbed 82 million people, topping the world | Coronavirus pandemic News

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But coronavirus rates have plateaued over the past week, raising concern over yet another surge in cases and deaths.

The United States has administered 82 million coronavirus vaccine shots, White House officials announced on Friday, more than any other country in the world.

During a coronavirus task force news conference, health officials said 55 percent of Americans aged 65 and older have now received at least one shot, up from 8 percent just six weeks ago.

“Altogether we’ve administered more than 82 million shots, more than any country in the world,” said Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for the COVID-19 response team.

But the US has also suffered more deaths than any other country in the world – more than 518,000 Americans have lost their lives to the disease.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of 100 million vaccines administered during his first 100 days in office [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

US President Joe Biden who took office in January has promised to make tackling the pandemic a top priority for his administration and has set a target to vaccinate 100 million Americans by early May – to coincide with his 100 days in office. He has said the country is well under way to meeting that goal.

Officials say 450 vaccination sites have been set up around the country which has sped up the effort and they have plans to open up more sites as vaccine supplies increase over the next weeks.

In an effort to further boost the campaign, last week the US gave emergency approval to use a third vaccine produced by drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. Biden has also announced that the US will manufacture the J&J vaccine, a shot that requires only one dose, further speeding up the effort.

But even with the vaccination campaign well under way, officials said deaths and infection rates have plateaued in recent days, indicating that the nation could be at risk of yet another surge.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said amid the rapid spread of new variants across the country, Americans need to ‘double down’ on protection measures of wearing masks, maintaining social distance and frequent hand washing [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, said over the past week, there have been daily 60,000-70,000 new coronavirus cases, and 1,900 Americans have been dying every day.

“The current numbers remain concerning,” Walensky said, “cases and deaths are still too high, and have now plateaued for more than week.”

Amid the rapid spread of new variants, which have been detected in 48 US states, she urged Americans need to “double down” on protection measures of wearing masks, maintaining social distance and frequent hand washing.

“I know that the idea of relaxing mask wearing and getting back to every day activities is appealing,” she said, “but we’re not there yet.”

Several states have in recent days announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions on businesses and have lifted statewide mandates to wear masks. Health officials have responded with concern and urged Americans to continue to wear masks and follow precautions set under federal guidelines.

Biden blasted the decisions by state governors on Thursday, calling it “a big mistake” and “the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking.”

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor said the current numbers are an indication of a likely fourth surge in cases.

“When you have that much viral activity in a plateau it almost invariably means that you are at risk for another spike,” he said.

During the briefing on Friday, officials also announced that the CDC is working on publishing guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, indicating which activities they may or may not be able to resume.



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