US Capitol Police said Monday that Rep. Barry Loudermilk did nothing wrong when he met with a group of constituents the day before last year’s Capitol riot — after the House select committee investigating the violence asked the Georgia Republican for more information about the gathering.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger wrote in a letter to House Administration Committee ranking member Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) that officers had reviewed security footage and found no evidence that Loudermilk entered the Capitol with the group of 12 to 15 constituents.
“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.
According to the chief, the constituents entered the Rayburn House Office Building, where Loudermilk has his office, around 11 a.m. Jan. 5, 2021.
The group, including Loudermilk, reappeared about two hours later on security footage from the basement of the Cannon House Office Building. At that point, Manger wrote, Loudermilk separated from the group and left the building alone.
“At no time did the group appear in any tunnels that would have led them to the U.S. Capitol,” the chief said. “In addition, the tunnels leading to the U.S. Capitol were posted with USCP officers and admittance to the U.S. Capitol without a Member of Congress was not permitted on January 5, 2021.”
Last month, select committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and vice chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) claimed that a review of security footage “directly contradicts” Republican claims that there were “no tours” or “large groups” of people at the Capitol in the days before Jan. 6, 2021.
“Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the US Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings,” they wrote. “For example, in the week following Jan. 6, Members urged law enforcement leaders to investigate sightings of ‘outside groups in the complex’ on Jan. 5 that ‘appeared to be associated’” with the “Stop the Steal” rally led by President Donald Trump that precipitated the riot.
Loudermilk had responded by claiming in a statement that a “constituent family with young children meeting with their Member of Congress in the House Office Buildings is not a suspicious group or ‘reconnaissance tour.’”
He went on to accuse Thompson and Cheney of “pushing a verifiably false narrative” about the gathering.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) says the Jan. 6 committee would still like to hear Loudermilk testify since video evidence disputes what House Administration Committee Republicans had previously claimed. He also said he’d like to show the video referenced in the letter so the American public can decide for themselves.