May 19, 2022

Jan. 6 investigators want GOP lawmaker to explain pre-attack U.S. Capitol tour

Posted May 19, 2022 6:36 AM

States Newsroom

The U.S. House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol on Thursday asked Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia to appear before the committee to answer questions about a tour of the Capitol that Loudermilk gave the day before the assault.

Shortly after the attack, 34 House Democrats, led by New Jersey’s Mikie Sherrill, urged police to review member-led Capitol tours in the days leading up to the event, saying that some rioters could have used tours to gain information about the layout of the Capitol complex.

Loudermilk said Republicans didn’t lead any such “reconnaissance tour” and filed an ethics complaint against the Democrats.

Thursday, the leaders of the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol said they’ve seen evidence that contradicts Loudermilk’s account and directly relates to the fifth-term conservative’s actions.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., signed a letter to Loudermilk that called on him to answer questions about a Jan. 5, 2021, tour of the Capitol he conducted.

In May 2021, Loudermilk led a group of Republicans on the House Administration Committee in filing an ethics complaint against Sherrill and the Democrats, saying they accused Republicans, without evidence, of providing reconnaissance tours to insurrectionists.

The complaint denied that any such tours occurred, with members saying they had reviewed security footage of the days preceding Jan. 6, and found that there “were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.”

Thompson and Cheney said that doesn’t square with what they have seen.

“The Select [Jan. 6] Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial,” Thursday’s letter said.

Loudermilk had not previously been known to be among the panel’s targets. A spokesman for Loudermilk did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The Jan. 6 committee earlier this month subpoenaed five Republican House members who the panel believes have knowledge of the events leading up to the attack, including communication with then-President Donald Trump.

The committee sent subpoenas to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Mo Brooks of Alabama.

In a statement accompanying his ethics complaint, Loudermilk took great offense at the Democrats’ accusation.

“A Member of Congress accusing another Member of committing a crime, without evidence, is morally reprehensible and a stain on this institution,” he said. “No Republican Member of Congress led any kind of ‘reconnaissance’ tours through the Capitol, proven by security footage captured by the U.S. Capitol Police.”

Jacob Fischler covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom.