WASHINGTON (AP) – A police officer injured in the January 6th Capitol riot and who urged an independent commission to investigate the attack will meet with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday, said two people familiar with the meeting.
Officer Michael Fanone has been saying for weeks that he wants to meet with McCarthy, who opposes a commission and has remained loyal to former President Donald Trump. It was a violent mob of Trump supporters that attacked the Capitol and interrupted the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory after the former president told them to “fight like hell” to undo his defeat.
The meeting comes after House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she was setting up a special committee to investigate the attack. She said a partisan-led investigation was the only option left after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to form a bipartisan commission.
Fanone is expected to be accompanied by Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who was also among the officers who responded to the riot, and Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, according to one of the people and a third person familiar with Fanone is the meeting. Brian Sicknick collapsed and died after engaging with the mob; a coroner 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 officials and family members to raise awareness of the day’s violence and win Senate approval for a bipartisan commission. The group has become more active as some House Republicans have begun to downplay the gravity of the uprising, in which Trump’s supporters brutally beat officials, broke through Capitol windows and doors, and chased lawmakers.
Fanone, Dunn and Gladys Sicknick have all campaigned aggressively for the commission – which was supposed to be modeled after a similar body that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks – and they visited the offices of several Republican senators ahead of last month’s vote. Seven Republican senators voted with the Democrats to consider the legislation that would form the bipartisan body, but it still fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward.
Fanone, a Metropolitan Police officer who described how he was dragged down the Capitol steps by rioters who shocked him with an electric bat and beat him, said at the time that “it is necessary for us as a nation to suffer from the trauma.” heal that we have all experienced “. Day.”
Similarly, Dunn has described fighting the rioters in hand-to-hand combat and being the target of racial slurs.
The House of Representatives passed the bill forming a commission last month, and Pelosi, D-Calif. But she said Thursday that Congress couldn’t wait any longer to begin a deeper look at the uprising.
“Jan. “6 was a day of darkness for our country,” said Pelosi, and she cannot forgive the “terror and trauma” for members and staff who were there. She said there was no set schedule for the committee to investigate and report on the facts and causes of the attack and make recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
She did not say who will lead or serve the body.
Pelosi’s official announcement two days after signaling to her peers that she would create the committee means the Democrats will take what is probably the most comprehensive look at the siege. More than three dozen Republicans in the House of Representatives and the seven Republicans in the Senate said they wanted to avoid such a partisan investigation and supported the law establishing a commission.
Pelosi says the select committee could add an independent body and she “hopes there might be a commission at some point”. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has announced that it will hold a second vote, but there is no evidence that the GOP’s votes have changed.
McCarthy did not comment on the selected committee after Pelosi’s announcement and only said in a brief interview that he had not heard anything about it.
Many Republicans have made it clear that they want to move on after the January 6 attack, brushing aside the many unanswered questions about the uprising, including how the government and law enforcement agencies anticipated the riot and Trump’s role and meanwhile missed the attack.
And some Republicans went further, with one claiming the rioters looked like tourists and another insisting that a Trump supporter named Ashli Babbitt, who tried to break into the House of Representatives that day, was shot, “executed”.
And last week, 21 Republicans voted against giving the US Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Medals of Honor to thank them for their service on January 6th. Dozens of these officers sustained injuries, including chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones.
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 died of suicide in the following days.
Associated Press authors Colleen Long and Alan Fram contributed to this report.