‘NOT an official statement’: Capitol Police deny issuing unsigned letter blasting GOP leaders for opposing January 6 riot probe
Obtained by media outlets on Wednesday afternoon after it was circulated among lawmakers, the message was reportedly drafted by a Capitol Police officer, who voiced “profound disappointment” with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after both stated there was “no need for a January 6th Commission.”
“It is inconceivable that some of the members we protect would downplay the events of January 6th,” the letter said, adding “It is a privileged assumption for members to have the point of view that ‘it wasn’t that bad.’”
Wow. The Capitol Police issue a letter expressing their "profound disappointment" with McConnell and McCarthy for opposing the January 6 commission, citing the "physical trauma" and "mental anguish" that officers endured during the insurrection. pic.twitter.com/JXCyurrXsg— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) May 19, 2021
While written by one officer, the message was said to represent “the views of 40-50” Capitol Police personnel, CNN reported, quoting the author as saying “It needed to be out there. It needed to be done.”
However, not long after the “bombshell” letter began making the rounds, scoring a number of headlines, the Capitol Police weighed in, stressing that the missive is “NOT an official USCP statement” and that the agency “has no way of confirming it was even authored by USCP personnel.”
The US Capitol Police does NOT take positions on legislation.
In a separate statement, Capitol Police chief of staff Salley Wood also denied any official link to the letter, reiterating that department leadership had no part in writing or sending it.
USCP does NOT take positions on legislation. pic.twitter.com/LSu38jbIqd— U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) May 19, 2021
This note from the US Capitol Police chief of staff was also just sent around to people on the Hill. pic.twitter.com/6ISFdg4usR— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) May 19, 2021
First circulated by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), the unsigned letter was drafted on USCP letterhead, appearing to voice the department’s official stance on a bill that would establish a commission to investigate the unrest on January 6.
The legislation was introduced by Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) and ranking member John Katko, an anti-Trump Republican from New York, calling for a probe similar to the one launched after the 9/11 attacks. Despite opposition from Minority Leader McCarthy, the bill passed a House vote on Wednesday by 252-175, backed by 35 Republicans. It is expected to face more GOP opponents in the Senate, however, with McConnell also rejecting the proposal on Wednesday, arguing that ongoing police investigations are sufficient.
Following the denials from the USCP, some Republicans voiced deep skepticism in the letter, with Colorado Representative Ken Buck asking how an “unverified, anonymous letter circulated by House Democrats” wound up on official Capitol Police letterhead. Jim Banks (Indiana), meanwhile, dubbed the message the “Raskin letter.”
How did an unofficial, unverified, anonymous letter circulated by House Democrats get published on official Capitol Police letterhead? https://t.co/bF2GvTLCtN— Rep. Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) May 19, 2021
The Raskin letter is the first example of the many shenanigans Democrats will pull to score partisan points if we let them run a Jan 6 commission.— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) May 19, 2021
The original message, before the USCP clarification, was amplified not only by top Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California), but also by Republican Representative Liz Cheney (Wyoming), who was recently ousted from her position as the GOP Conference chair, the third-highest position in the party’s leadership.
Nancy Pelosi & Liz Cheney are helping spread the false framing of this letter. pic.twitter.com/jOIxWIVnaQ— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) May 19, 2021
Pelosi has claimed she could initiate regular committee hearings that have “full subpoena power” to probe the riot should Senate Republicans vote down the commission, though previously said “that's not the path we have chosen to go.” It is unclear whether she still would still launch an alternative investigation if the bill is ultimately blocked.
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