WASHINGTON – U.S. Capitol Police said Thursday it is not currently investigating Idaho Rep. Russ Fulcher, R-Boise, for allegedly pushing a police officer after setting off a metal detector at the entrance to the House floor Jan. 12, despite a reporter’s claims he witnessed the incident and was later interviewed as part of an investigation.
Fulcher’s office on Friday released a brief letter it had received from the department, which is charged with protecting Congress, confirming “there is no current investigation” into any incident involving the North Idaho Republican.
“This situation has been demoralizing to me and distracting to the people I represent,” Fulcher said in a statement. “Attacks on policy positions are one thing, but this was designed to tear down character.”
Matt Fuller, a reporter for the left-leaning website HuffPost whose first-hand account was the basis of the original story, responded to the letter – first reported by Fox News on Friday – by pointing out that the police statement did not deny that an investigation had taken place, only that one was ongoing. Fulcher told Fox News he had reached out to the Capitol Police after Fuller posted about the incident on Twitter and was told the department couldn’t comment on active investigations.
According to Fuller’s account, Fulcher “went through the metal detector, set it off, ran into a cop, and then pushed his way past her.”
Fulcher wrote Jan. 13 on Twitter he was “unaware of any rude interactions between members and capitol police,” and the lawmaker told Fox News he “stutter-stepped around one of the police officers” and didn’t “believe there was any touching at all.”
Fuller tweeted Feb. 17 the department had called him for an interview for “two ongoing investigations,” one about Fulcher and the other on a later incident in which Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., reportedly set off a metal detector when he tried to carry a gun onto the House floor.
Magnetometers were installed at the entrances to the House chamber after the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Fulcher was one of several GOP lawmakers who protested the measure. In addition to Harris, at least two other House Republicans – freshmen Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina – have said they would carry guns to the Capitol.
Orion Donovan-Smith's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.
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