WaPo Fact Checker Points out How an Impeachment Claim Goes up in Flames With Sicknick's Cause of Death

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The falsehoods surrounding the cause of death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick may finally have been put to rest today.

The medical examiner finally confirmed that Sicknick suffered two strokes and died from natural causes the day after the Capitol riot, not because of any injury.


But it’s been a long journey since his death until this point, with a lot of false stories in between. His family begged that his death not be politicized but it has been politicized from the start, unfortunately.

I reported on Jan. 10 that there were questions regarding the initial account that Sicknick was hit with a fire extinguisher, causing his death. Indeed, as I wrote from the beginning, there was no evidence that he had ever been hit with a fire extinguisher, and there had been a report that he had an underlying medical condition; that he was fine until he collapsed hours later back at his office, after which he was taken to the hospital and died the next day.

Indeed, as I wrote on Feb. 5, his family told Pro Publica in a Jan. 8 report that the doctors had told them he’d had a stroke. But media was not reporting that information. The media completely ignored the Pro Publica report and what the family was saying. It took media until February to finally start admitting that the report about the fire extinguisher was untrue. As I also reported, CNN admitted on Feb. 2, that there was no blunt force trauma and the story about the fire extinguisher was false.

Why did it take so long to get to that basic truth?

Perhaps today’s observation of the Washington Post’s fact-checker best explains it. Here’s what Glenn Kessler noted about the impeachment pretrial memorandum filed by the House Democrats on Feb. 2.


It says, “The insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher.”

President Donald Trump was impeached in the House on Jan. 13 and the trial was between Feb. 9-13. So they had every reason to know prior to the trial, even from the CNN report on Feb. 2, that this claim of death from being struck with a fire extinguisher by insurrectionists was false. Indeed they should have known since the ABC report and my report on Jan. 10, that there wasn’t any evidence for the fire extinguisher story; they should not have claimed that without evidence. But they made the claim anyway. Indeed by Feb. 2, it was clear even to CNN that Sicknick had no blunt trauma injuries indicating he was ever physically hit by anything.

Had the medical examiner’s report come in before the impeachment trial, saying that Sicknick died due to two strokes, that probably would have heavily impacted what they were trying to sell to people at the impeachment trial between February 9-13. The medical examiner’s report just came out today, April 19, after waiting since January 7. The length of time it took to get the report is troubling, to say the least.


The medical examiner did find evidence that Sicknick was sprayed with what is believed to have been bear spray, but no evidence that he had any allergic reaction to the spray. The medical examiner confirmed he had no internal or external injuries. But he said that Sicknick was one of the officers who responded to the riot and β€œall that transpired played a role in his condition.” The medical examiner refused to say if Sicknick had a prior medical condition, citing privacy concerns. The earlier ABC report indicated that he may have had an underlying condition, as I reported on Jan. 10.

But there’s no question that that impeachment trial memo was a flat-out falsehood, designed to make the worst possible case, falsely describing Sicknick’s death to hurt President Donald Trump when they had every reason to know there wasn’t evidence to support that claim. They had no proof when they made the charge, that’s how much their claims were worth.


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