One day after congressional Republicans touted the release of a Capitol Police report that they said cleared their colleague of leading any “reconnaissance” tours, the Jan. 6 Committee turned up the heat on the Georgia Republican.
The committee released video from the tour Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) allegedly gave up to 15 of his constituents on Jan. 5—along with footage of one of them apparently threatening three top Democratic leaders on a march to the U.S. Capitol a day later.
“Surveillance footage shows a tour of approximately ten individuals led by you to areas in the Rayburn, Longworth, and Cannon House Office Buildings, as well as the entrances to tunnels leading to the U.S. Capitol,” the Committee’s Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote in a three page letter on Wednesday.
The committee previously asked Loudermilk’s voluntary cooperation with their investigation on May 19.
“Individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints,” Thompson wrote.
The committee noted that the group stayed for several hours, even though the Capitol complex was closed to the public on that day.
On Tuesday, the top Republican on the Committee of House Administration released a letter from Capitol Police finding nothing “suspicious” about the conduct of the people on Loudermilk’s tour that day.
“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021,” Chief J. Thomas Manger wrote in a letter released Tuesday and dated Monday. “We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.”
The Jan. 6 Committee apparently remains unpersuaded.
“The Select Committee has learned that some individuals you sponsored into the complex attended the rally at the Ellipse on the morning of January 6, 2021,” their latest letter states. “According to video recordings from that day obtained by the Select Committee, the individual who appeared to photograph a staircase in the Longworth House Office Building filmed a companion with a flagpole appearing to have a sharpened end who spoke to the camera saying, ‘It’s for a certain person,’ while making an aggressive jabbing motion. Later, these individuals joined the unpermitted march from the Ellipse to the U.S. Capitol. While standing near the Capitol grounds, the same individual made a video that contained detailed and disturbing threats against specific Members of Congress.”
Later, they quote the person on the march from the Ellipse to the Capitol saying, “There’s no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you.”
The Committee quotes the person at length in the letter.
“They got it surrounded,” he said. “It’s all the way up there on the hill, and it’s all the way around, and they’re coming in, coming in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, even you, AOC. We’re coming to take you out and pull you out by your hairs. … When I get done with you, you’re going to need a shine on top of that bald head.” [Ellipsis in original]
Republicans on the Committee on House Administration, led by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), previously claimed to have seen nobody in “MAGA hats” on the tour. In a footnote, the Committee noted that the footage itself tells another story.
In a statement, Loudermilk denounced the committee’s actions as a “smear campaign.”
“As Capitol Police confirmed, nothing about this visit with constituents was suspicious,” Loudermilk said. “The pictures show children holding bags from the House gift shop, which was open to visitors, and taking pictures of the Rayburn train. ”
“This false narrative that the Committee and Democrats continue to push, that Republicans, including myself, led reconnaissance tours is verifiably false,” he added. “No where that I went with the visitors in the House Office Buildings on January 5th were breached on January 6th; and, to my knowledge, no one in that group was criminally charged in relation to January 6th.”
Loudermilk asserted that suspicion about his actions on Jan. 5 have led to death threats against him, his staff and his family.
Update—June 15 at 12:44 p.m. Eastern Time: This story has been updated to include Rep. Loudermilk’s statement.
Read the letter, below:
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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