Jan. 6 committee presses GOP congressman on Capitol tour video

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection pressed GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk on Wednesday to discuss a tour he gave of the Capitol complex on Jan. 5, 2021, by releasing security video of an unidentified person on the tour — who marched on the Capitol the next day — taking photos and video of mundane areas of the building.

“Individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote in a letter to Loudermilk (R-Ga.).

“The foregoing information raises questions the Select Committee must answer. 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 said in the letter.

Loudermilk has denied any wrongdoing by the group touring the Capitol, which he said came to Washington to attend then-President Trump’s speech and rally, but decided not to go.

The committee also released video from the Facebook account of the unidentified person from the tour recorded on the Capitol grounds Jan. 6 in which he threatened House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

“They are swarming and converging … there is no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you,” the person says on the video.

The security video released by the committee shows the person taking images of entry points to the Capitol building through the network of underground tunnels between the House office buildings and the Capitol while Loudermilk speaks to others on the tour.

On Tuesday, Loudermilk released communication that Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger had with House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), in which Manger says, “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.”

The committee first asked Loudermilk to voluntarily give them more information about the tour in a May 19 letter. Soon after the attack, several Democrats accused pro-Trump GOP lawmakers of giving tours of the Capitol complex to people who attended the Jan. 6 riot but had provided no evidence.