Capitol Police say nothing "suspicious" about tour probed by Jan. 6 panel
The Capitol Police told Congress in a letter Monday they didn’t observe anything “suspicious” about a Jan. 5, 2021 tour led by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) that’s been the subject of scrutiny from the Jan. 6 select committee.
Why it matters: The letter is a boon to House Republicans who have accused the panel of overstating the significance of a constituent tour that took place shortly before the Capitol was assaulted by Trump supporters.
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said in a TV interview the letter is proof that “there was no Republican who led anyone who breached the Capitol on a reconnaissance tour leading up to January 6th.”
- A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Driving the news: Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a letter to Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, that his department reviewed footage of the tour this month.
- They concluded that the tour of around a dozen constituents was confined to the House office buildings and never reached the Capitol, which was off limits at the time.
- "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,” Manger wrote.
Catch up quick: In a May letter to Loudermilk, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the panel, asked Loudermilk for more information about "a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021.”
- Thompson wrote the committee had evidence that some groups had tried to gather information about the layout of the Capitol and office buildings in advance of January 6.
Yes, but: Loudermilk pushed back immediately, calling it a “verifiably false narrative” and asking for Capitol Police to release surveillance video tapes.
- In a video statement Loudermilk said he was merely taking a family with young children and a guest to lunch at a House cafeteria on Jan. 5. He suggested that the committee has taken an interest because “some were actually wearing red baseball caps.”
- “If this committee wanted to know the truth about this, all they had to do was ask,” Loudermilk continued, asserting that they sent an “accusatory letter … insinuating [I] am some kind of evil conspirator.”
Threat level: Loudermilk last month questioned why the committee hadn’t dealt with the matter privately, and said he, his staff and family received threats after the letter’s release.
- A spokesman told Axios Loudermilk has increased security as a result.
Editor's note: This post was updated to include comment from a spokesperson for Rep. Barry Loudermilk.