Police: Republican's tour of Capitol complex not suspicious
Police have determined there was nothing suspicious about a tour of two Capitol office buildings that a House Republican gave to about 15 people the day before Jan. 6, 2021, when rioting supporters of then-President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol.
The House committee investigating the 2021 insurrection examined whether rioters had been involved in reconnaissance and surveillance before the attack, and Democrats suggested some Republican members may have helped them. But there has been no public evidence of that.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican from Georgia, was simply showing his constituents around, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger in a letter sent Monday. Manger's letter to Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, came a few weeks after the House committee investigating the insurrection had asked Loudermilk for more information about the tour it said he led the day before the attack.
Police reviewed surveillance video showing Loudermilk leading a tour of about 15 people in the Rayburn and Cannon House office buildings, Manger said.
Republicans on the House Administration Committee — Loudermilk is a member — had previously said they reviewed security footage from Jan. 5 and said there were "no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on."
But Reps. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the chairman and vice-chairwoman of the separate Jan. 6 committee contended last month that their review of the evidence "directly contradicts that denial."
Loudermilk has said the Jan. 5 tour was with a constituent family and took place in the House office buildings and not inside the Capitol building. He and Davis had called on Capitol Police in May to release surveillance video.
The Capitol complex includes 20 buildings and facilities, including House and Senate offices. Underground tunnels connect most of the buildings to the Capitol.
"At no time did the group appear in any tunnels that would have led them to the U.S. Capitol," Manger wrote in the letter.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., a Jan. 6 committee member, said Tuesday the panel would still like to hear Loudermilk's testimony and would like to show the video referenced by the Davis letter to let the public decide.
"What Republicans said last year was false — that there were no tours, no MAGA hats — that was patently false."
Capitol Police say the tour was thoroughly examined and there was nothing suspicious about it.
"There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021," Manger said. "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."