Jan. 6 Committee Investigating Capitol Tour Given by GOP Lawmaker on Eve of Insurgency | CNN Politics


The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection said Thursday it had evidence that GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk led a tour of the U.S. Capitol complex the day before the inauguration. storming of the building by pro-Trump rioters, according to a letter asking for the Republican lawmaker’s willing cooperation with their ongoing investigation.

The letter notes that the committee reviewed evidence that “directly contradicts” previous claims by Republican lawmakers who said security footage from the days leading up to Jan. 6 shows ”

The committee is now seeking more information from Loudermilk about the purpose of the tour he led of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021 and its participants.

“Based on our review of evidence in the possession of the select committee, we believe you have information regarding a visit you conducted to certain parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021,” said Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and Vice President Liz Cheney. , a Republican from Wyoming, wrote in the letter.

“The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers. Public reports and testimony indicate that certain individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, prior to January 6, 2021,” they added.

Loudermilk and GOP Rep. Rodney Davis, the House Administration Committee’s top Republican, issued a joint statement later Thursday in response to the committee’s letter again pushing back against any allegations of Jan. 5 “recognition” tours. and calling on Capitol Police to release the footage.

“A constituent family with young children meeting their congressman at the House office buildings is not a suspicious group or a ‘scouting tour’. The family never entered the Capitol building,” they wrote.

The letter comes more than a year after some House Democrats accused Republicans of arranging visits in the days leading up to Jan. 6 to people who later stormed the Capitol.

Representative Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat from New Jersey, accused Republicans in the days after the uprising of offering tours to people who then used the information they learned during their visit to the development. of the complex to aid them in their attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. But Sherrill did not nominate any Republicans.

Sherrill told a virtual town hall on January 12, 2021 that “members of Congress who had groups passing through the Capitol I saw on January 5 for recognition for the next day.” The congresswoman never provided specific details or named which congresswoman organized the visits – even after widespread criticism from Republicans, demanding that she provide evidence to back up her claims.

Several Republican members have denied organizing such tours, and it was Loudermilk who filed an ethics complaint last year against Sherrill and 33 other Democrats, accusing them of making allegations about Republican-led reconnaissance tours. without any evidence.

“A member of Congress accusing another member of having committed a crime, without proof, is morally wrong and a stain on this institution,” Loudermilk wrote in the complaint. “No Republican member of Congress has conducted ‘reconnaissance’ tours through the Capitol, as evidenced by security footage captured by US Capitol Police.”

“My fellow Republicans and I will not sit idly by while Democrats accuse their colleagues of treason for political gain. This type of conduct must not be tolerated,” he wrote, urging the Ethics Committee of the House to “take swift and decisive action to ensure that this does not happen again”.

A spokesperson for the House Ethics Committee declined to comment on the status of Loudermilk’s ethics complaint.

In February, Davis also said that a review of security footage from the Capitol complex prior to January 6, 2021 “does not support these repeated accusations by Democrats regarding so-called ‘scouting’ tours.”

“We have reviewed security footage from the Capitol complex during the relevant period leading up to January 6, 2021, and know that it does not support these repeated accusations by Democrats regarding the so-called ‘reconnaissance’ tours. Unfortunately, the truth has not stopped these Democratic allegations,” Davis wrote at the time.

Although the Democrats behind the charges have yet to provide additional evidence to back up their claims, they have also refused to back down from the accusation.

According to the letter, the committee has obtained evidence that contradicts previous GOP denials that tours took place in the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021 — raising questions about that given by Loudermilk and its purpose.

Loudermilk has not been among the more notable GOP lawmakers who have emerged as potential witnesses in the committee’s ongoing investigation.

However, CNN previously reported that he was among Republican lawmakers who texted White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 6.

“It’s really bad here on the hill. They violated the Capitol,” Loudermilk wrote to Meadows at the time.

“POTUS is engaging,” Meadows emailed in response to Loudermilk.

“Thank you. This does not help our cause,” Loudermilk replied.

This story was updated with additional developments on Thursday.

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