House GOP leader to meet injured officer in riot on Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON (AP) – A police officer who was injured in the U.S. Capitol uprising on January 6 and lobbied for an independent commission to investigate the attack will meet with Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
Officer Michael Fanone has said for weeks that he wants to meet with McCarthy, who has opposed a commission and has remained loyal to former President Donald Trump. It was a violent mob of Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol and interrupted President Joe Biden’s certification of victory after the former president told them to “fight like hell” to reverse his defeat.
The meeting comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she was creating a special committee to investigate the attack. She said a partisan-led inquiry was the only option left after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to form a bipartisan commission.
Fanone is expected to be joined by Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who was also among the officers responding to the riots, and Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, according to one of the people. and a third person familiar with the meeting. Brian Sicknick collapsed and died after engaging with the mob; a medical examiner ruled that he died of natural causes.
The three people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
The meetings are part of an effort by officers and family members to draw attention to the violence of that day and to gain Senate approval from a bipartisan committee. The group became more active as some House Republicans began to downplay the seriousness of the insurgency, in which Trump supporters brutally beat officers, smashed windows and doors on Capitol Hill, and ousted lawmakers .
Fanone, Dunn and Gladys Sicknick have all lobbied aggressively for the commission – which would be modeled after a similar panel that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks – and they have visited the offices of several Republican senators before. the vote last month. Seven Republican senators voted with Democrats to review legislation that would form the bipartisan panel, but it still hasn’t reached the 60 votes needed to move forward.
Fanone, a Metropolitan Police officer who described being dragged down the steps of the Capitol by rioters who shocked him with a stun gun and beat him, then said it was “necessary for us to heal. as a nation of trauma we’ve all been through this day. ”
Likewise, Dunn described fighting rioters hand-to-hand and being the target of racist slurs.
The House passed the bill to form a committee last month, and Pelosi, D-Calif., said she preferred an independent panel to lead the investigation. But she said on Thursday that Congress could no longer wait to begin a more in-depth review of the insurgency.
“Jan. The 6th was a dark day for our country,” Pelosi said, and the “terror and trauma” suffered by the members and staff who were there is something she cannot forgive. said there was no set timeline for the committee, which will investigate and report on the facts and causes of the attack and make recommendations to prevent it from happening again.
She did not specify who will lead or sit on the panel.
Pelosi’s official announcement, two days after signaling to her colleagues that she would be setting up the committee, means Democrats will be leading what will likely be the most comprehensive review of the seat. More than three dozen Republicans in the House and all seven Republicans in the Senate have said they want to avoid such a partisan inquiry and have backed the legislation to form a commission.
Pelosi says the select committee could be complementary to an independent panel and that she “hopes there might be a commission at some point.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has said he could hold a second vote, but there is no indication that the GOP votes have changed.
McCarthy did not comment on the select panel after Pelosi’s announcement, only saying in a brief interview that he had not heard of it.
Many Republicans have made it clear that they want to move on to the Jan.6 attack, brushing aside the many unanswered questions about the insurgency, including how the government and law enforcement missed intelligence leading to the riots and Trump’s role before and during the attack.
And some Republicans went further, with one suggesting the rioters looked like tourists and another insisting that a Trump supporter named Ashli Babbitt, who was shot that day while he attempted to break into the chamber of the Chamber, was “executed”.
And last week, 21 Republicans voted against awarding medals of honor to the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police to thank them for their service on Jan.6. Dozens of these officers suffered injuries, including chemical burns, brain injuries and fractures.
McCarthy voted for the measure.
Seven people died during and after the riots, including Babbitt and three other Trump supporters who died from medical emergencies. In addition to Sicknick, two police officers committed suicide in the days that followed.
Associated Press editors Colleen Long and Alan Fram contributed to this report.