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Political Notebook

Dead officer’s family to urge GOP senators to back insurrection investigation

In January, an American flag flew at half-staff in remembrance of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick above the Capitol Building.
In January, an American flag flew at half-staff in remembrance of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick above the Capitol Building.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The mother and partner of the late Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick are requesting meetings with all Republican senators to urge them to establish an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes a day after he confronted rioters at the insurrection, the District’s chief medical examiner ruled last month. In early February, Sicknick, who grew up in New Jersey, was honored at the US Capitol. His remains were interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Sicknick’s mother, Gladys Sicknick, confirmed to The Washington Post that she sent a statement on the matter to Republican lawmakers.

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“My son has been gone for over four months and I want answers, that’s all,” she said in a brief interview Wednesday when asked why she is requesting the meetings.

News of the statement was first reported by Politico.

According to an e-mail obtained by the Post, Gladys Sicknick and Sandra Garza, the officer’s companion of 11 years, will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday and are requesting meetings with every Republican senator “to discuss the importance of establishing the bipartisan January 6th Commission on which the Senate will be voting this week.”

In the statement, which was included in the e-mail, Gladys Sicknick said that her son and his fellow police officers “fought for hours and hours against those animals who were trying to take over the Capitol Building and our Democracy, as we know it.”

“Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day,” she said in the statement. “Because of what they did, the people in the building were able to go home that evening and be with their families. Brian and many other officers ended up in the hospital. I suggest that all Congressmen and Senators who are against this Bill visit my son’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery and, while there, think about what their hurtful decisions will do to those officers who will be there for them going forward.”

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Nearly 140 officers were assaulted during the failed insurrection, authorities said, facing some rioters armed with ax handles, bats, metal batons, wooden poles, hockey sticks, and other weapons.

The House last week passed legislation that would form an independent commission to investigate the attack. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, on Tuesday began the process of setting up a Senate vote on the bill, which he said could come later this week.

But the legislation’s prospects in the Senate remain dim. Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans to join them in supporting the measure in order for it to pass. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, has voiced opposition to the commission, dismissing it last week as a “slanted and unbalanced proposal” — one day after he said his members were open to voting for the plan but needed a chance to read the “fine print.”

Several Republican lawmakers have also in recent days sought to play down the seriousness of the Jan. 6 attack, comparing the violent mob to “tourists,” railing against law enforcement for seeking to arrest them, and questioning how anyone could be sure the rioters were supporters of former president Donald Trump.

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Sicknick said all members of Congress should want to understand the facts of what happened that day.

“Putting politics aside, wouldn’t they want to know the truth of what happened on January 6?” she said. “If not, they do not deserve to have the jobs they were elected to do.”

Washington Post

White House press secretary makes history

Upon stepping onto the podium Wednesday, Karine Jean-Pierre became the first Black woman in decades and the first openly gay person in the country’s history to address the press corps on behalf of a US president in the White House briefing room.

Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy White House press secretary, who was subbing for White House press secretary Jen Psaki, called it a “real honor” when asked about her appearance.

“I appreciate the historic nature, I really do,” she said. “But I believe that, you know, being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building, is not about one person. It’s about, you know, what we do on behalf of the American people.”

She suggested her role also reflected Biden’s belief that “representation matters” and said she appreciated him giving her the opportunity.

Jean-Pierre has provided relatively short briefings to reporters previously on Air Force One, but Wednesday marked her first time in the more formal setting.

Judy Smith, the deputy press secretary in the White House of George H.W. Bush, was the last Black woman to appear on a president’s behalf in the briefing room. That was in 1991.

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Washington Post

MyPillow founder tossed from GOP governors’ event

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell was thrown out of the Republican Governors Association’s spring conference this week after he showed up to the event in Nashville and vowed to confront GOP governors about his false claims surrounding the 2020 presidential election.

Lindell is a prominent ally of Donald Trump who has championed the former president’s claims of election fraud. Lindell told Politico, and confirmed to The Washington Post, that a conference coordinator told him that despite being credentialed, he was prohibited from attending any of the official RGA events during the three-day session. In an interview with the Post, Lindell said he was denied transportation to a Tuesday evening dinner at the official residence of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican.

“These events are for RGA members, and Mike Lindell is not currently an RGA member,” an RGA official told Politico.

The move to ban Lindell from the conference came after the pro-Trump pillow magnate promised to challenge Republican Governors Brian Kemp of Georgia and Doug Ducey of Arizona, the chair of the organization, about the election results in their states — both won by President Biden.

Washington Post

Biden set to name ambassador picks for China, India

President Biden is expected to announce he is nominating former senior State Department official Nicholas Burns to serve as his ambassador to China and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be his ambassador to India, according to a person familiar with the matter.

With the selections, Biden is turning to a seasoned diplomat and a longtime political ally to serve in two of the country’s highest-profile diplomatic postings.

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It was not clear when either nomination would be announced, according to the person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to publicly comment on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity. The White House declined to comment on either Burns or Garcetti and noted that “no one is final until they’re announced.”

The Associated Press has previously reported that Biden has settled on former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve as his ambassador to Japan and former deputy secretary of state Tom Nides to be ambassador to Israel. Neither of those selections has been publicly announced.

Prominent Democratic fund-raisers Denise Bauer, Jane Hartley, and David Cohen have also emerged as leading contenders for postings in France, Italy, and Canada, respectively, according to people familiar with the White House deliberations but also not authorized to publicly comment on the matter. During the Obama administration, Bauer served as ambassador to Belgium, and Hartley was ambassador to France and Monaco. Cohen is a top executive at the cable company Comcast.

Associated Press