Jan. 6 panel releases video of Capitol tour before attack – Boston News, Weather, Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Committee is investigating the January 6, 2021 Uprising released video on Wednesday of a tour led by a Republican lawmaker the day before the attack, showing participants taking photos of stairwells and tunnels in the Capitol complex.

The panel released the video as it again called on GOP lawmaker Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk to speak to the committee about the tour. Loudermilk has so far declined the interview and denied any wrongdoing, and the chief of the US Capitol Police said in a letter to Republicans this week that after reviewing the surveillance video, “we do not consider any of the activity we observed to be suspicious.”

Still, the committee says it has questions. In addition to the surveillance video, the footage released by the panel also includes video of an unidentified man walking toward the Capitol on January 6, holding a flagpole that appears to have a sharpened end that he says is “used for a specific person”. The committee says the man who took the video, who is not seen in the footage but is laughing and urging the man with the flag, is one of the tour participants who took photos at the Capitol the day before.

Later footage of the same man shows people approaching the Capitol. The man who recorded the video then apparently threatened Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and New York Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“They come in, come in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, even you, AOC,” the man says in the video released by the committee. “We’re coming to get you out and pull you out by your hair. … When I’m done with you, you need a shine on that bald head.”

The panel didn’t say if the man made it to the Capitol or if he was charged. While more than 800 people were charged with breaking into the building or violently beating police officers, thousands of other protesters were outside the building or on the National Mall and engaged in no violence. The injury temporarily halted confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory.

In a Wednesday letter to Loudermilk renewing the request for an interview, the committee’s chairman, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, said the panel “was hoping to show you the video evidence when you met with us,” it said but publicly released because Loudermilk had done so declined far. Thompson said the areas photographed and recorded by some on the tour “are not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, stairways and security checkpoints.”

Another member of the panel, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, tweeted after the video was released: “Please take a look. These are not normal tour routes, the Capitol was closed to tours.”

The back-and-forth with Loudermilk has underscored the committee’s difficulty in obtaining information from Republicans who communicated with President Donald Trump, the White House, or rioters during or before the riot, as Trump devised a strategy to reverse his election defeat. While the panel has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, five GOP lawmakers have defied subpoenas, including GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy, who spoke with Trump that day.

Loudermilk was not subpoenaed, and there is no evidence he knew that any of the participants on his tour were outside the Capitol the next day.

The Georgia Republican said in a statement after the video was released that the panel “is undermining Capitol Police and redoubling their smear campaign.” He said there was “nothing there,” noting that none of the sites they visited were injured on Jan. 6.

“As confirmed by Capitol Police, nothing about this visit to voters was suspicious,” Loudermilk said. In an interview with reporters at the Capitol, he said he condemned the violent language used towards lawmakers, but “nobody in that group showed that kind of aggression that day.”

Police reviewed footage of Loudermilk’s tour when the committee asked for his interview and after some Democrats said immediately after the attack that Republicans previously conducted “reconnaissance tours” of the Capitol. There was no evidence it happened.

“This false narrative that the committee and Democrats continue to push that Republicans, including myself, have been conducting reconnaissance tours is demonstrably false,” Loudermilk said in his statement.

In a letter sent Monday to Republicans on the House Administration Committee, of which Loudermilk is a member, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said about 15 people were on the tour and that Loudermilk was showing voters around the Capitol complex, which was closed to visitors at the time due to Corona concerns. But they did not enter the Capitol itself. The group also walked around one of the buildings without the congressman, Manger said.

Surveillance video released by the committee shows the group at entrances to tunnels leading to the Capitol but not entering the building. The Capitol complex includes 20 buildings and facilities, including the offices of the House and Senate, and underground tunnels connect most of the buildings to the Capitol.

“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the US Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021,” Manger said in the letter. “We train our officers to be alert to individuals conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any activity we observe to be suspicious.”

Republicans on 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.”

But Thompson and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the chair and vice chair of the Jan. 6 panel, said last month their review of the evidence “directly contradicts that denial.”

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/jan-6-panel-releases-video-of-capitol-tour-before-attack/ Jan. 6 panel releases video of Capitol tour before attack – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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