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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman on Thursday defended her department's complete lack of press briefings since the Jan. 6 insurrection and refused to commit to holding regular briefings in the future.

What they're saying: Pittman told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the department "has issued a number of press releases" and but is not prioritizing press updates. Capitol Police spokespersons have been highly uncommunicative since the insurrection and have held zero public briefings.

  • Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who chairs the subcommittee, told Pittman that while USCP has been adequate in communicating with lawmakers, he also thinks "the American people and the press need to hear directly from you."
  • Because the Capitol Police are not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, BuzzFeed News is suing them for information related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Go deeper

Acting Capitol Police chief: Officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman wrote in prepared remarks for a House hearing on Thursday that officers in her department were "unsure of when to use lethal force" during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Capitol Police did deploy lethal force on Jan. 6 — shooting and killing 35-year-old Ashli Babbit — but have faced questions over why officers appeared to be less forceful against pro-Trump rioters than participants in previous demonstrations, including those over Black Lives Matter and now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.