Jan. 6 committee wants to talk to Loudermilk about Capitol tour given the day before attack

The Jan. 6 committee said Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., led a tour through the Capitol on Jan. 5, 2021.

WASHINGTON – The special House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol is seeking testimony from a Republican lawmaker from Georgia to determine whether a Capitol tour led by the congressman the day before the attack may have been used for reconnaissance.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., directed the voluntary cooperation request to Rep. Barry Loudermilk, stating that "we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021."

"The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers," Thompson and Cheney wrote, seeking Loudermilk's cooperation. "Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6, 2021.”

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Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., listens to a speaker at a press conference, May 4, 2021, in Marietta, Georgia. Loudermilk is the latest GOP lawmaker to be asked to cooperate with the House select committee probing the violence that took place on Jan. 6, 2021.

Evidence gathered by the committee "directly contradicts" prior denials from House Administration Committee Republicans that there were no such tours, "no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on," Thompson and Cheney wrote.

Loudermilk, a member of the House Administration Committee, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Thompson and Cheney asked that Loudermilk meet with the panel as soon as next week.

Almost immediately after the Capitol attack, some lawmakers raised concerns that rioters were provided prior access to the complex, which may have been used to guide them after the building was breached.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., raised that prospect in public statements days after the attack, saying that she saw lawmakers conducting tours the day before the attack and describing it as "reconnaissance" for the following day. 

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The voluntary request comes a week after the panel issued subpoenas to five Republican lawmakers, including House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, after they declined to voluntarily cooperate with the committee.