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Jan. 6 panel asks GOP Rep. Loudermilk about Capitol tour before Trump riot

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Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Rayburn Constructing titled “Financial Industry Regulation: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency,” on June 13, 2018.

Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot is asking GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia a few tour he led of the Capitol complex a day before it was overrun by a mob of Trump supporters, saying they’re looking into reports of protestors who scoped out the constructing ahead of the riot.

The Jan. 6 panel also noted in a letter Thursday to Loudermilk that Republicans on the Committee on House Administration — “of which you’re a member” — 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.”

“Nevertheless, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial,” said the letter from the Jan. 6 panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and its vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

“Based on our review of evidence within the Select Committee’s possession, we consider you may have information
regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021,” the letter said.

On the heels of the riot, members of Congress had urged law-enforcement officials to research reports of so-called reconnaissance tours of the Capitol after weeks of false claims by former President Donald Trump that he was swindled out of re-election due to widespread ballot fraud.

“Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in
efforts to collect information in regards to the layout of the U.S. Capitol, in addition to the House and Senate
office buildings, prematurely of” the riot, the letter noted.

Loudermilk’s spokesman didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on the letter, which seeks the congressman’s voluntary cooperation with its probe.

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The letter comes barely greater than every week after the committee issued subpoenas for testimony from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and 4 other GOP congressmen allied with Trump. Those subpoenas were the primary to be issued by the committee for fellow sitting members of Congress.

On Thursday, Axios reported that Bill Barr, who served as Trump’s attorney general until he quit in December 2020 after refusing to endorse claims of widespread election fraud, is in discussions with the Jan. 6 committee to be interviewed by the panel.

A committee spokesman didn’t immediately comment on that report.

The riot disrupted a joint session of Congress that was meeting to verify the election of President Joe Biden.

Loudermillk, who in 2019 compared Trump’s first impeachment to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, was amongst a minority of House members who voted to reject certification of the Electoral College votes for Biden from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

The letter to him from the panel indicates investigators are still pursuing leads related to the riot weeks before the committee goals to carry the primary in a series of public hearings unveiling its findings.

McCarthy and the 4 other Republicans who were issued subpoenas — Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania — haven’t clearly stated whether they are going to comply with the demands for his or her testimony.

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