Sen. Ron Johnson went after acting chief of U.S. Capitol Police Yogananda Pittman for dodging his questions about her force’s involvement in spreading lies about the cause of Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick’s death following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
In April, the Wisconsin Republican sent a letter to the acting chief of U.S. Capitol Police demanding answers about the law enforcement agency’s Jan. 7 press release that claimed Sicknick, whom medical examiners determined died of natural causes, died due to “injuries sustained while on-duty” after “physically engaging with protestors.”
Pittman’s response, Johnson explained in his most recent letter, was subpar.
“Unfortunately, your incomplete response, signed by USCP General Counsel Thomas DiBiase, failed to address the majority of the questions in my letter,” Johnson wrote. “Instead, the May 6, 2021 response generally stated that because “there are currently pending criminal charges against two defendants for assaulting Officer Sicknick [USCP is] limited in what our Department can provide to you in terms of information.'”
This excuse, Johnson said, “is not a legitimate justification for refusing to respond to questions that do not appear to be materially related to the criminal case against the two defendants charged with assaulting Officer Sicknick.”
“Therefore, without information from your office regarding the specific questions you are unable to answer, I write to reiterate my questions and information requests from my April 22, 2021 letter and expect a complete response to each question by May 20, 2021,” Johnson continued. “If you believe that you are, in fact, limited in providing a complete answer to a specific question, please indicate which question you are unable to answer and how the pending criminal charges prevent your office from answering that question.”
In addition to reiterating questions and requests for details about Sicknick up to the time of his death, whether Democrats asked for information about Sicknick before proceeding with Donald Trump’s impeachment, and if USCP made any attempts to correct their amplification of The New York Times’ false claims about Sicknick’s death by a fire extinguisher, Johnson asked “how did USCP come to the belief that Officer Sicknick ‘passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty’?”
“In the May 6, 2021 [response], Mr. DiBiase stated, ‘we can assure you . . . that when we released our press statement on January 7th, we believed that Officer Sicknick had died from injuries sustained while on-duty,'” Johnson wrote. “…Please provide all documents and communications relating to the development of the January 7, 2021 press release.”