"It is a privileged assumption for members to have the point of view that 'it wasn't that bad,' " the anonymous police officer wrote to members of Congress

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pro Trump protesters breach Capitol building
Rioters at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6
| Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Amid a debate over whether Congress should establish a commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, an anonymous Capitol Police Officer says it would be "inconceivable" not to.

"It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th. 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,' " the officer wrote, in an anonymous letter printed on USCP letterhead, sent to members of Congress and obtained by CNN and other media outlets. "That privilege exists because the brave men and women of the USCP protected you, the Members."

The letter continued, as reported by Politico, saying, "On Jan 6th, where some officers served their last day in US Capitol Police uniform, and not by choice, we would hope that Members whom we took an oath to protect, would at the very minimum support an investigation to get to the bottom of EVERYONE responsible and hold them 100 percent accountable no matter the title of position they hold or held."

There were five fatalities in connection to the Jan. 6 riots, during which a large group of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building as lawmakers gathered to certify Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden

One of those killed was Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 from injuries he sustained "while physically engaging with protesters" at the riots, USCP said in a statement at the time. 

A memo sent internally to Capitol Police staff and obtained by CNN noted that the letter was not written by Department leadership, though the network did speak to the officer who disseminated it, who said: "It needed to be out there. It needed to be done."

In an official statement from the Capitol Police, a spokesperson said the department "does NOT take positions on legislation."

"A statement is circulating on social media, which expresses an opinion about the proposed legislation to create a commission to investigate January 6. This is NOT an official USCP statement," the statement said. "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."

Following former President Donald Trump's acquittal in his second impeachment trial, elected representatives continued pushing for a more thorough investigation into security failures that allowed his supporters to storm the building, and to investigate what role Trump, 74, played in the deadly attack. 

In a letter sent to President Joe Biden in February, Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton, who chaired the independent, bipartisan commission created by former President George W. Bush in the wake of the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks, called for a similar commission to probe the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans to launch a commission the month after the riots, citing national security concerns and concern for the safety of Congress members.

Pelosi's statement described it as "an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex."

Some five months after the attacks, however, support for such a commission has waned, with some lawmakers even going so far as to dismiss or downplay the events of Jan. 6 entirely. Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde, for instance — who was photographed barricading a door to prevent rioters from entering the Capitol rotunda — last week compared the events of that day to a "normal tourist visit."

This week, both House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out against the legislation that would establish an independent commission to investigate the attempted insurrection.

In a statement issued Tuesday, McCarthy said the commission would be "potentially counterproductive," as the federal government is carrying out separate investigations into the Jan. 6 riots.

As written, the bill would create a 10-person panel to look into "the facts and circumstances of the January 6th attack on the Capitol as well as the influencing factors that may have provoked the attack on our democracy."

The commission created by the legislation would include five members appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, and five by Republicans.

The Democrat-controlled House passed the bill on Wednesday in a 252-175 vote. It now heads to the Senate, where it will need the support of at least 10 Republicans in order to pass. President Biden has said he supports the measure.