Jan. 6 panel asks GOP lawmakers to testify about Capitol tour

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FILE – Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Georgia, listens to a speaker at a news conference May 4, 2021 in Marietta, Georgia. Loudermilk of Georgia is the latest GOP lawmaker asked to cooperate with the House Select Committee violence that took place on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, file)

AP

The congressional committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot is asking a House Republican for more information about a tour of the building the panel said he led the day before the deadly attack.

The committee’s letter to Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk Thursday is the latest attempt by House investigators to seek cooperation from GOP lawmakers in the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump violently broke into the Capitol that day, disrupting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

“Based on our review of the evidence in the possession of the Special Committee, we believe you have information regarding a tour you conducted of portions of the Capitol Complex on January 5, 2021,” wrote Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Liz Cheney of Wyoming Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee.

“Public reporting and testimonies indicate that prior to the riot, some individuals and groups made efforts to gather information about the layout of the US Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings,” they wrote.

The voluntary request comes as the panel has already conducted more than 1,000 interviews about the insurgency and is preparing for a series of hearings in June. Questions about tours of the Capitol before the attack have lingered since the days after, when Democrats suggested some Republican members might have helped the rioters. So far, however, there has been no public evidence of this support.

The letter to Loudermilk said Republicans in a separate panel, the House Administration Committee, had previously said they reviewed Jan. 5 security footage and said there were “no tours, no big groups, nobody with MAGA hats.” “. Loudermilk is a member of this body.

But the committee’s Jan. 6 review of the evidence “directly contradicts that denial,” Thompson and Cheney wrote.

That earlier assessment by GOP members came after three dozen Democrats sent a letter to the committee days after the attack, detailing alleged sightings of “unusually large” groups led by either Republican lawmakers or their associates in the days leading up to the attack lead attack.

In a statement Thursday, Loudermilk said the Jan. 5 tour was with a constituent family and took place in the House office buildings rather than the Capitol itself

“We are asking Capitol Police to release the tapes,” wrote Loudermilk and Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., the senior member of the House Administration Committee, in a joint response to the letter.

The motion comes a week after the panel issued subpoenas to five Republican members, including minority leader Kevin McCarthy.

The decision to grant subpoenas to McCarthy, R-Calif., and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama was a dramatic show of power by the panel, which has already interviewed nearly 1,000 witnesses and collected more than 100,000 documents while investigating the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries.

The five Republicans, all of whom have repeatedly downplayed the legitimacy of the investigation, have yet to say whether they will do so.

In all, the committee has now publicly solicited cooperation from at least eight lawmakers it believes have information critical to the planning and execution of the attack and former President Donald Trump’s potential role in instigating it .

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