Capitol Police say they did not observe anything “suspicious” about a Jan. 5, 2021, tour led by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) that came under scrutiny meticulously by the select committee on 6 January.
Why is this important: The letter is a boon to House Republicans who have accused the panel of overstating the significance of a constituent tour that took place shortly before the Capitol was assaulted by Trump supporters.
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said in a TV interview that the letter is proof that “no Republican has led anyone who crossed the Capitol on a reconnaissance tour leading up to Jan. 6.”
- A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Driving the news: Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a letter to Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, that his department reviewed footage from the tour this month.
- They concluded that the visit of a dozen voters was limited to the House office buildings and never reached the Capitol, which was then off-limits.
- “We train our officers to be alert to people carrying out surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any activity we observe to be suspicious,” Manger wrote.
Catch up fast: In a May letter to Loudermilk, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel chair, asked Loudermilk for more information about “a visit you conducted to parts of the Capitol complex on Jan. 2021”.
- Thompson wrote that the committee had evidence that some groups attempted to gather information about the layout of the Capitol and office buildings prior to Jan. 6.
Yes, but: Loudermilk immediately pushed back, calling it a “patently false account” and asking Capitol police to release surveillance videotapes.
- In a video statement, Loudermilk said he was simply taking a family with young children and a guest to lunch at a cafeteria in the House on January 5. He suggested that the committee became interested because “some were actually wearing red baseball caps”.
- “If this committee wanted to know the truth about it, all it had to do was ask,” Loudermilk continued, claiming he had sent an “accusatory letter … insinuating [I] am some kind of evil conspirator.
Threat level: Last month, Loudermilk questioned why the committee had not handled the matter privately and said he, his staff and his family had received threats after the letter was published and needed the protection of security forces. order.
- A spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry from Axios as to whether these threats have continued.