WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police Department disavowed a letter Wednesday circulating on Capitol Hill and purporting to be from some of its members unhappy with Congressional Republicans’ decision to oppose a 9/11-style commission for the January 6 insurrection.
The letter, which was obtained by CBS News, was reportedly disseminated by Rep. Jamie Raskin’s (D-MD) office and written by a number of Capitol Police officers who live in his district. The letter appears on Capitol Police stationary, but was written anonymously and signed only “Proud Members of the United States Capitol Police.”
In the letter, the unnamed officers express their “profound disappointment” with minority leaders Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Mitch McConnell, who have both come out this week in opposition to a bipartisan compromise to form an independent commission to investigate the Capitol riot.
“The brave men and women of the USCP were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish,” the letter reads. “If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing. Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.”
Last week, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee – Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY) unveiled a bipartisan agreement to form a January 6th Commission modeled after the investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since then, however, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have both come out against the plan – undermining good-faith negotiations by Katko and likely dooming the bill’s passage in the Senate, where 10 Republican votes would be required to overcome a filibuster.
On Wednesday, the family of Capitol Police Officer Howard “Howie” Liebengood, who took his own life after the insurrection, issued a statement calling for Congress to move forward with the commission. The anonymous Capitol Police letter echoes that call, saying members of Congress should respect the Capitol Police who took an oath to protect them enough to want to hold those responsible for January 6 accountable.
“It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect would downplay the events of January 6th,” the letter says. “Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of USCP. It is a privileged assumption for Members to have the point of view that, ‘It wasn’t that bad.’ That privilege exists because the brave men and women of the USCP protected you, the Members.”
After the letter was posted on social media, the Capitol Police responded via the department’s official Twitter account to deny any responsibility for its creation.
“A statement is circulating on social media, which expresses an opinion about the proposed legislation to create a commission to investigate January 6,” USCP said in the tweet. “The is NOT an official USCP statement. The Department has no way of confirming it was even authored by USCP personnel. The U.S. Capitol Police does NOT take positions on legislation.”
The House took up the bill to create a January 6 commission for debate on Wednesday afternoon. It was expected to pass with some Republican support in the lower chamber. Ten Republicans in the Senate, along with every Democrat, would have to vote for it to pass in that chamber.
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