- The Washington Times
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The House Jan. 6 Committee on Wednesday released surveillance footage of the man taking photographs of “hallways, tunnels, and staircases within the Capitol complex,” as part of what they say was a tour of the Capitol complex hosted by Rep. Barry Loudermilk on Jan. 5, 2021.

The video, which the committee posted on YouTube, also includes footage of a man they said was part of the tour among the mob outside of the Capitol during the riot the following day.

The committee says the man was part of an alleged reconnaissance tour of approximately ten individuals they say were led by Mr. Loudermilk, Georgia Republican.

“That group stayed for several hours, despite the complex being closed to the public on that day,” Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, said in a statement accompanying the release of the video.

“Individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints,” he said.

In the just under three-minute video, the man is heard making threats to Democratic members of Congress.

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The release is in response to a letter sent by Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, released on Tuesday, that said there was “no evidence” that constituent meetings were held by Rep. Barry Loudermilk on Jan. 5 to coordinate the riot.

“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021. 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,” Chief Manger said.

Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, unveiled a letter.

Chief Manger confirmed that Mr. Loudermilk led a tour of roughly 15 people who entered the Rayburn House Office Building and the Cannon House Office Building, but did not enter any tunnels leading to the Capitol.

“At no time did the group appear in any tunnels leading to the U.S. Capitol were posted with USCP and admittance to the U.S. Capitol without a member of Congress was not permitted on January 5, 2021,” Chief Manger said.

Republicans dubbed the confirmation from Capitol Police as a win against the committee they’ve accused of being politically motivated.

Rep. Pete Aguilar, California Democrat who sits on the committee, said on Tuesday that he still wasn’t convinced GOP lawmakers were not involved in wrongdoing in advance of the riot.

“I’m happy to read any letter that [Chief Manger] sends to us, but I hope that we also have a real conversation about that because tours were not authorized at that time,” Mr. Aguilar said. “There were many individuals in and around the Capitol complex who talked a lot about violence in those times.”

Mr. Thompson said the video underscores the need for the committee to investigate the matter further.

The committee requested in May that Mr. Loudermilk appear before the panel, but said those requests have been rebuffed.

In a letter accompanying the release on Wednesday, Mr. Thompson doubled down on his request that Mr. Loudermilk appear before the committee.

“The foregoing information raises questions the Select Committee must answer,” Mr. Thompson wrote. “We again ask you to meet with the Select Committee at your earliest convenience.”

Mr. Loudermilk called the release of the video a “smear campaign” in a statement later Wednesday.

“This false narrative that the Committee and Democrats continue to push, that Republicans, including myself, led reconnaissance tours is verifiably false,” he said. “No where that I went with the visitors in the House Office Buildings on January 5th were breached on January 6th.”

He also said that, to his knowledge, no one on the tour had been criminally charged in relation to the Capitol riot.

Last week, the committee began its series of public hearings scheduled for this month to unpack its findings after a nearly yearlong investigation.

The committee abruptly postponed its hearing scheduled for Wednesday. The committee will host its next hearing Thursday.

The committee also has two hearings scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday of next week.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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