Oct 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Letter with "concerning language" found in Jan. 6 committee chair's office

Rep. Bennie Thompson, wearing a white shirt, red tie and dark gray suit, speaks to reporters outside Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office at the Capitol.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Capitol Police are investigating the origins of a letter containing what it called "concerning language" reported by staff at the office of the House Jan. 6 select committee chair.

Driving the news: The USCP gave the all-clear on Tuesday after briefly locking down the hallway around the office of Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). After screening the letter, police said it didn't contain a dangerous substance or powder.

Why it matters: The incident came days before the Jan. 6 committee is set to regroup for a public hearing, as Congress remains out of session through the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

  • A spokesperson for Thompson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Axios.

What they're saying: "This afternoon Congressional staff inside the Rayburn House Office Building reported that they received a letter with concerning language," the USCP said Tuesday in a statement posted to Twitter.

  • "We just screened it and determined it not to have anything dangerous inside. Powder was not found inside."
  • A follow-up tweet said they "take all concerning statements and threats seriously" and are "now working to determine who sent the letter and why."

The backdrop: The USCP had sent out several internal emails to Capitol staff and personnel warning them to "AVOID THIS AREA," and directing those at offices in the immediate vicinity to "shelter in place at this time."

  • An all-clear email was sent out just over an hour later.

The big picture: Threats against members of Congress have risen consistently in recent years. Several incidents over the summer have left the Capitol in a particular state of unease and spurred Capitol security officials to boost member security.

  • Jan. 6 committee members in particular have been on the receiving end of threats, and each member has had a USCP security detail since June, when they were in the midst of their high-profile hearings.
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