The Department of Justice (DOJ) will not pursue charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the deadly January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, officials announced Wednesday.
Officials said that federal prosecutors reviewed video footage, interviewed the officer and other witnesses, assembled evidence, and examined autopsy results, officials said of the investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
“Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” the DOJ said in a statement.
“The investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of members of Congress,” the statement also read. The DOJ’s decision officially concludes the investigation.
Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force and Air National Guard veteran, was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer while she and a mob were standing in the doorway leading to the House Speaker’s Lobby of the Capitol. The officer shot her as rioters attempted to smash through the door, and the chaotic moment was captured on video and quickly spread throughout social media shortly thereafter.
She had entered the Capitol Building with other rioters on January 6 to prevent the certification of the 2020 Electoral College victory of President Joe Biden.
Babbitt is one of five people who died in or outside the Capitol that day, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Three other people died of medical emergencies.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Rep. Dean Phillips Steps Down from House Democratic Leadership Amid Calls for Primary Challenger to President Biden
In a surprising move, Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, recently announced his resignation from his leadership role within the Democratic Party.
The decision, while not forced, was made amidst growing tension within the caucus over his public calls for a primary challenger to President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.
Phillips, who served as a co-chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC), revealed his decision on Sunday, stating, “I have decided to step down from the DPCC & Democratic Caucus leadership.”
He acknowledged that his outspoken stance on the 2024 presidential race had created a rift within the party, stating, “While politics & official work do not mix, it’s clear my convictions about 2024 are incongruent with the position of my colleagues & that was causing discomfort. I was not pressured or forced to resign.”
According to reports from Fox News, sources confirmed that Phillips had not been pushed out of his leadership role and that, in general, party leadership had been supportive of him. However, his public criticism of President Biden had caused disruption and discomfort within the caucus.
The breaking point appears to have been a House Democratic Caucus meeting where Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, a Democrat from California, openly criticized Phillips for suggesting that President Biden should step aside in favor of a primary challenge. This incident reportedly marked the first time Phillips realized the extent of the discomfort his position was causing among some fellow Democrats.
After the meeting, Phillips approached Kamlager-Dove on the House floor, questioning why she had not raised her concerns with him privately. This exchange highlighted the divisions within the party regarding the issue of a primary challenge to President Biden.
Notably, sources have indicated that Phillips may be considering larger political ambitions, including a potential run for the presidency, a notion he had previously floated. In August, Phillips urged fellow Democrats to enter the 2024 presidential race and suggested that President Biden should “pass the torch” to new leaders. During a recent podcast appearance, Phillips hinted at the possibility of running against Biden, stating, “I haven’t ruled it out,” but also acknowledging the challenges of running without national name recognition.
In the wake of his resignation from the DPCC and Democratic Caucus leadership, Rep. Phillips expressed his appreciation for House Minority Whip Hakeem Jeffries and DPCC Chair Rep. Joe Neguse, applauding their leadership styles and principles. Phillips’ departure from leadership marks a significant development in the ongoing debate within the Democratic Party about its direction and potential presidential contenders for 2024.
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