The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol sent a letter request to Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) (above) for his testimony about a tour of the Capitol on January 5 that he had previously denied occurred:
We write to seek your voluntary cooperation in advancing our investigation. Based on our review of evidence in the Select Committee’s possession, we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021.
The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers. Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some 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, in advance of January 6, 2021. For example, in the week following January 6th, Members urged law enforcement leaders to investigate sightings of “outside groups in the complex” on January 5th that “appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day.”
In response to those allegations, Republicans on the Committee on House Administration—of which you are a Member—claimed to have reviewed security footage from the days preceding January 6th and determined that “[t]here were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.” However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial.
We would like to meet with you soon, but we also want to accommodate your schedule. We propose meeting with you on the week of May 23, 2022. Please let us know whether one of those dates will fit with your schedule. If you are unavailable that week, we can arrange an alternative time to meet. If it would be preferable to hold this meeting with you in your home district, we would also be glad to explore travel arrangements to facilitate that option.
The American people deserve a full and accurate accounting of what happened on January 6th. We aim to make informed legislative recommendations taking account of all relevant facts. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.
Takeaway: Rep. Loudermilk and his Republican colleagues on the Committee on House Administration stand accused of covering up evidence that Rep. Loudermilk gave a “reconnaissance tour” of the Capitol on January 5. The January 6 Committee is suggesting that it has surveillance video evidence to back it up.
A House Republican lawmaker acknowledged on Thursday bringing a “constituent family” into the Capitol complex a day before rioters breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after the select committee investigating the attack called on him to address evidence that he’d brought a group inside a Capitol office building.
Loudermilk did not explain why he didn’t disclose the tour over the past 16 months, nor did he indicate whether he would appear, but he emphasized, in a joint statement with Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), that no member of the group he led “has been investigated or charged in connection to January 6th.”
“The facts speak for themselves,” Davis and Loudermilk said. “[N]o place that the family went on the 5th was breached on the 6th, the family did not enter the Capitol grounds on the 6th.”
Questions about whether GOP lawmakers or aides led tours of the Capitol complex the day before rioters breached it raised urgent alarms in the days after Jan. 6, when a group of Democrats contended they’d witnessed suspicious groups of visitors. The presence of unknown visitors would have been particularly notable at the time because the Capitol complex was closed to public tours as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the closure, some lawmakers and staff brought guests into the complex under the guise of “official business” anyway.
But no evidence had emerged to support the initial Democratic allegations since the early days after the breach of the Capitol.
The committee noted in its letter to Loudermilk that Republicans on the House Administration Committee, including the lawmaker, had previously reviewed security footage from that day and claimed there were no tours, but Thompson and Cheney said the committee’s review of the evidence “directly contradicts that denial” that there were no tours.
Loudermilk previously led a group of Republicans in criticizing Democrats for accusing them of leading “reconnaissance tours” through the Capitol and filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against the group of Democratic lawmakers.
In their statement, Loudermilk and Davis also called on the U.S. Capitol Police to release surveillance footage from Jan. 5.
The Capitol Police said in a statement: “The USCP has cooperated extensively with the January 6th Select Committee and the Department of Justice by providing witnesses, documents, and 14,000 hours of security sensitive camera footage. We cannot make additional public statements or provide any of the materials while their work is still pending.”
The 14,000 hours of footage are limited to Jan. 6 itself, though, and it’s unclear whether the department has provided footage from the prior days.
As Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman at the Washington Post write, Jan. 6 panel just dropped a big hint. They’d better have the goods. (currently behind a paywall).
Earlier reporting on reconnaissance tours of the Capitol focused on other Republcian members of the House, GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert gave Capitol tour to ‘large’ group before the riots, Democratic lawmaker says, and Videos show ally of Marjorie Taylor Greene among mob inside Capitol during January 6 riot.
If the January 6 Committee has 14,000 hours of security sensitive camera footage one would think that they can prove or disprove the allegations of “reconnaissance tours” one way or another.
In other video evidence news, Jan. 6 committee evidence includes official White House photos from day of Capitol riot:
Congressional investigators have obtained a batch of official White House photographs, including images taken on Jan. 6, 2021, according to two sources familiar with the evidence.
The previously unreported cache, which arrived via the National Archives, may provide the committee with real-time visual evidence of former President Donald Trump’s actions and movements as a mob of his supporters battered their way into the Capitol and threatened the transfer of power to Joe Biden.
At least some of the photos were taken by official White House photographer Shealah Craighead, the sources indicated. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson confirmed that the panel had obtained some of Craighead’s photos, though he declined to describe their content. Asked whether the panel had spoken to Craighead as a direct witness, Thompson said, “Not yet.”
But the existence of any photographic evidence presents the prospect that the select committee may be able to offer a more vivid and granular picture of what was happening inside the White House on Jan. 6 than previously known.
The panel has been amassing evidence of Trump’s movements and actions that day, attempting to reconstruct a minute-by-minute account of what the former president was doing while rioters smashed through police lines and disrupted the counting of electoral votes — the last step in finalizing Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory before his inauguration. The committee has already obtained from the National Archives a private schedule that revealed attendees of a key Oval Office meeting, as well as call logs and diary entriestypically barred from public view.
The photo cache is another indication of the valuable materials the committee has obtained from the Archives in recent months.