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Police officer asks McCarthy to condemn Republican comments on Capitol attack

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Michael Fanone, a Metropolitan Police officer who suffered a mild heart attack and a brain injury during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, challenged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a meeting on Friday to publicly condemn Republicans who have downplayed the insurrection and voted against honoring the law enforcement who protected them during the siege.

Fanone told reporters after the meeting that he had asked McCarthy to denounce the 21 House Republicans who voted against giving police officers a congressional medal of honor for defending the Capitol, as well as GOP Congressman Andrew Clyde, who had compared the riot to a “normal tourist visit.”

“I found those remarks to be disgusting,” Fanone said. 

He added that he wanted McCarthy to “denounce the baseless theory that the FBI was behind the January 6 insurrection,” a false claim that has recently been promoted by right-wing media outlets and even members of Congress.

Fanone said he did not believe McCarthy denounced the members of his conference sufficiently.

“I asked him specifically for a commitment to denounce that publicly. And he said that he would address it at a personal level with some of those members. But again, I think that … as the leader of the House Republican Party, it’s important to hear those denouncements publicly,” Fanone said.

Fanone had in recent weeks repeatedly expressed a desire to meet with McCarthy, who opposed the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the January 6 attack. Fanone and Harry Dunn, a Capitol Police officer who was assaulted and called slurs by rioters, met with McCarthy Friday afternoon.

Fanone, Dunn and Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died died after engaging with the mob, had strongly advocated for the creation of an independent commission, which was blocked by Republican senators last month. A medical examiner later ruled that Sicknick died of natural causes.

The meeting with McCarthy came after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she would create a select committee to investigate the attack. Fanone said he asked for commitments from McCarthy that he would not put “obstructionists” and “the wrong people” on the committee.

“We did ask for some commitments to take the special Select Committee seriously. I think we all want the same thing, ultimately, but how we go about getting it, I guess is where the hiccup is,” Dunn told reporters after the meeting.

Fanone also talked about the toll that his advocacy takes, saying “in a lot of ways this experience has been incredibly isolating.”

“I’m just mentally and physically exhausted,” Fanone said.

Five people died during the attack on January 6, including Sicknick, and two Capitol Police officers died by suicide after the attack. CBS News has learned that more than 150 officers were injured in the attack, according to sources on Capitol Hill and the Capitol Police union and testimony from Metropolitan Police Chief Chief Robert Contee.

Zak Hudak and Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.


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