The Capitol Police chief in a recent letter said that a gaggle tour of the Capitol complex led by GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia a day before the January 6, 2021, riot by a mob of Trump supporters was not suspicious, and at no point entered the Capitol itself.
The letter Monday by Police Chief J. Thomas Manger got here nearly a month after the House select committee investigating the riot asked Loudermilk in regards to the tour he gave.
The committee is probing questions of whether Republican members of Congress facilitated tours of the Capitol complex that allowed tour members to conduct surveillance upfront of the riot.
“We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we don’t consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious,” Manger wrote in his letter to Rep. Rodney Davis, an Illinois Republican who’s the rating member of the Committee on House Administration.
Davis last week asked the Capitol Police Board to review surveillance footage from Jan. 5, 2021, related to the tour by Loudermilk, who’s a member of the administration committee.
Manger, citing that surveillance video, confirmed Loudermilk’s statement that he never entered the Capitol constructing itself with a gaggle of constituents, which initially comprised a dozen people but which eventually grew to fifteen, in response to Manger’s letter.
As a substitute, the group appeared to have spent all of their time in or around three large buildings housing offices of House lawmakers, that are a part of the Capitol complex and have a system of underground tunnels that access the U.S. Capitol constructing. About five minutes of that point was spent at a series of exhibits within the Cannon House Office Constructing.
Manger wrote that Loudermilk never took his constituents “in any tunnels that may have led them to the U.S. Capitol.”
Loudermilk, in a tweet containing a replica of Manger’s letter, wrote, “The reality will at all times prevail.”
“As I’ve said because the Jan. 6 Committee made their baseless accusation about me to the media, I never gave a tour of the Capitol on Jan 5, 2021,” he wrote, “and a small group visiting their congressman is on no account a suspicious activity. Now the Capitol Police have confirmed this fact.”
Loudermilk, who during then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 compared that proceeding to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, was amongst a minority of House members who voted to reject certification of the Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden from Arizona and Pennsylvania on Jan. 6, 2021.
That proceeding was disrupted for hours by supporters of Trump, who for weeks beforehand had falsely claimed that he had won the 2020 election and that Biden’s official victory was the results of widespread ballot fraud.
The Capitol includes the 2 chambers of Congress — the Senate and House of Representatives — and the rotunda, whose distinctive dome has come to symbolize Washington, D.C.
The rotunda, the Senate and surrounding hallways within the Capitol were breached by rioters on Jan. 6 disrupting for hours a joint session of Congress that was within the technique of confirming Biden’s election.
The House was not breached, because it was barricaded and guarded by armed police, certainly one of whom fatally shot a rioter who had tried to clamber through the window of a door within the Speaker’s Lobby, which leads into the House chamber.
Davis, in a press release Tuesday about Manger’s letter, called his findings “a blow to the partisan 1/6 Select Committee’s credibility.”
“This comes following false accusations from House Democrats and the 1/6 Select Committee that Republicans, including Committee Member Barry Loudermilk, gave reconnaissance tours,” Davis said.
Nevertheless, the select committee had not said that Loudermilk gave a reconnaissance tour.
As a substitute, the Jan. 6 panel said in its May 19 letter to Loudermilk that “public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to assemble information in regards to the layout of the U.S. Capitol, in addition to the House and Senate office buildings, upfront of” the riot.
The committee in that very same letter noted that Republicans on the Committee on House Administration, which Loudermilk sits on, claimed to have reviewed security video footage of the times leading as much as the riot and located “there have been no tours, no large groups, nobody with [Make America Great Again] hats on.”