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

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Rayburn Building 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 about a 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 building 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 are a member” — claimed to have reviewed security video footage of the days leading up to the riot and found “there were no tours, no large groups, no one with [Make America Great Again] hats on.”

“However, 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 in the Select Committee’s possession, we believe you 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 investigate 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 because of widespread ballot fraud.

“Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in
efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate
office buildings, in advance of” the riot, the letter noted.

Loudermilk’s spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment on the letter, which seeks the congressman’s voluntary cooperation with its probe.

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The letter comes slightly more than a week after the committee issued subpoenas for testimony from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and four other GOP congressmen allied with Trump. Those subpoenas were the first 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 did not immediately comment on that report.

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

Loudermillk, who in 2019 compared Trump’s first impeachment to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, was among 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 aims to hold the first in a series of public hearings unveiling its findings.

McCarthy and the four other Republicans who were issued subpoenas — Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Pennsylvania’s Scott Perry — have not clearly stated whether they will comply with the demands for their testimony.

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