Democrats Cited Debunked ‘Fire Extinguisher’ Claim in Trump Impeachment Trial

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 25: Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) leads fellow House Impeachment Managers as they proceed to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate on January 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House is impeaching Donald Trump for the second time with the Senate scheduled to begin its …
Jonathan Ernst - Pool/Getty Images

The false claim that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed by being struck by rioters with a fire extinguisher was debunked Monday by the District of Columbia medical examiner — but not before Democrats cited it in the impeachment trial.

As Breitbart News’ John Nolte noted, Sicknick was found to have died from natural causes, after he suffered two strokes on the day after the Capitol riot. He was not killed by a fire extinguisher, nor by chemicals in pepper spray or any other weapon.

However, Democrats’ House impeachment managers cited the fire extinguisher claim in their trial brief when they urged the Senate to convict former President Donald Trump — even though he had already left office. The impeachment brief claimed (footnotes omitted):

After the insurrection, one participant who broke into the Capitol wearing combat gear and carrying zip ties [sic] stated that he acted because “[t]he President asked for his supporters to be there to attend, and I felt like it was important, because of how much I love this country, to actually be there.” Another asserted, “I thought I was following my President. … He asked us to fly there, he asked us to be there, so I was doing what he asked us to do.” She explained that she believed that she had “answered the call of [her] president,” echoing the views of other participants. Subsequent reporting revealed that far-right groups had rallied members to attend the event based upon “the green light from the President.”

The insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher.

The brief cited the New York Times as the source for the “fire extinguisher” claim. That article, titled “Capitol Police Officer Dies from Injuries in Pro-Trump Rampage,” has not yet been corrected.

The headline remains the same, as of this writing; an update from Feb. 12 states (emphasis removed): “New information has emerged regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police.”

NYT Brian Sicknick screenshot (Screenshot / NY Times)

(Screenshot / NY Times)

That claim was one of several false claims made by the House impeachment managers during the trial. They cited the Charlottesville “very fine people” hoax, for example, cited a fake “find the fraud” quote, and used a doctored tweet.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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