GOP-led tour group member later threatened lawmakers, Jan. 6 panel says
The Jan. 6 select committee on Wednesday released new information about a Jan. 5 tour of the Capitol complex led by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), alleging one of the tour group members later filmed videos threatening lawmakers.
Why it matters: The panel is renewing a request for Loudermilk to testify as part of a deep dive into alleged "surveillance" tours — even as they execute blockbuster hearings to showcase the evidence they've already gathered.
The backdrop: The Capitol Police said Tuesday they reviewed surveillance footage of the tour but didn't observe anything "suspicious."
- Chief Thomas Manger said the group consisted of between 12 and 15 people and never entered the Capitol itself.
- Republicans heralded that as a vindication. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said it was proof that Loudermilk "did not take anyone on a reconnaissance tour."
- Loudermilk has accused the committee of pushing a "verifiably false" narrative.
Driving the news: The new evidence came in a letter to Loudermilk. "We had hoped to show you the video evidence when you met with us," Jan. 6 committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote.
- The letter cites surveillance footage that shows tour group members photographing areas of the complex "not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints."
- Several of the members later attended the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally at the Ellipse and marched to the Capitol, according to Thompson.
The panel also identifies an unnamed tour group member who took photos of the outside of Rep. Jerry Nadler's (D-N.Y.) office during the tour, and later filmed videos threatening lawmakers, including Nadler.
- In footage released by the committee, the individual showed off a sharpened flagpole at the Washington Monument on Jan. 6 and said it was for a "certain person."
- Later that day, they were filmed outside the Capitol name-checking Nadler, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
- "There's no escape ... we're coming for you. We're coming in like white on rice," they said in the video.
- "We're coming to take you out. We'll pull you out by your hairs. How about that Pelosi? You might as well make yourself another [hair] appointment. When I get done with you, you're going to need a shine up on top of that bald head."
What they're saying: "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 January 6, 2021," Thompson wrote to Loudermilk.
- "The Select Committee’s review of surveillance footage showing the above-described tour is consistent with those observations. We again ask you to meet with the Select Committee at your earliest convenience."
The other side: Loudermilk said in a statement that the tour footage proves “nothing about this visit with constituents was suspicious,” noting the presence of children holding gift bags.
- “This false narrative that the Committee and Democrats continue to push, that Republicans, including myself, led reconnaissance tours is verifiably false,” he said, adding that, to his knowledge, “no one in that group was criminally charged in relation to January 6th.”
Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Rep. Loudermilk.