The House select committee investigating the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, released evidence Wednesday showcasing how at least one individual who took part in a Republican congressman’s tour of the building on the day prior to the attack was also part of the violent mob of Trump loyalists who marched to the Capitol.
The evidence appears to directly contradict claims by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia), who said last month that his tour group did not include any violent members of the January 6 mob.
It also lends credence to notions put forth by the committee that some members of the groups taken on tours of the Capitol by Republicans on January 5 could have used the tours to surveil the building. The committee noted that the Capitol complex was closed to the public that day, and the tour included “areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists.”
The new evidence was shared by the January 6 committee on Twitter, but also in a letter to Loudermilk from committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi). In the letter, Thompson told Loudermilk that he “had hoped to show [him] the video evidence” in a meeting with the committee, which they had requested back in May.
“Since you have thus far declined, the Select Committee provides the video in question for your review,” Thompson said.
None of the evidence, which includes surveillance photos taken inside the Capitol building of an unnamed man and the video footage that he personally recorded the day after, shows the man in question inside the Capitol itself as the violence unfolded. However, it is heavily implied that the man did indeed take part in the day’s events. And at the very least, suggestions that the man was not part of the mob that attacked the Capitol are refuted by the evidence provided by the committee.
In the video, the man says he is already “basically at the Capitol” as he continues to approach it. He can also be heard in the recording making numerous threats against Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Jerry Nadler (D-New York).
“There’s no escape,” the man says, evidently directing his comments toward those lawmakers, as he approaches the Capitol building.
Surveillance footage shows a tour led by Loudermilk to areas in the House Office Buildings, as well as the entrances to Capitol tunnels.
Individuals on the tour photographed/recorded areas not typically of interest to tourists: hallways, staircases and security checkpoints. pic.twitter.com/Rjhf2BTdbc
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 15, 2022
“We’re coming to take you out. We’ll pull you out by your hairs,” the man says in his recordings. “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.”
The video also shows the man recording another individual, showing off a flagpole with a sharpened end, saying it’s for “someone special.”
Within the video produced by the January 6 committee, footage shows the same man taking pictures around the Capitol building during the tour with Loudermilk.
The pictures that the man and others on the tour had taken, Thompson noted in his letter to the Georgia Republican, included areas of the building “not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints.”
Loudermilk has changed his story about the tour he gave the day before the Capitol attack on many occasions. Initially, he denied having given any tour at all. When that was proven to be a lie, Loudermilk issued a press release in May denying that any member of his tour group was part of the mob of Trump loyalists that attacked the Capitol. Additionally, he claimed that the tour group was merely a family interested in learning more about the building.
The video evidence contradicts those claims by Loudermilk. Furthermore, even if the individual shown in the January 6 committee’s video did not personally utilize the images he took on that tour, it’s possible that he shared the pictures from that day with others taking part in the Capitol attack.
Any tour that was given on January 5 – the day before the riot by the deniers of the election results – raises suspicion, as the Capitol was closed off to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The release of the committee’s video has led to several members of Congress, including those threatened by the unnamed man in the video, to criticize Loudermilk’s refusal to speak about the tour.
“On Jan 5th the Capitol was closed to the public,” Ocasio-Cortez reminded her followers on Twitter. “But surveillance video shows @RepLoudermilk bringing in an insurrectionist who was photographing member staircases + exits.”
“[That person] stormed the Capitol the next day looking for us w/ those references,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “@RepLoudermilk, care to comment?”
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