Washington — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol released new surveillance footage on Wednesday showing GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk leading a group of people on a tour of the Capitol complex the day before the attack, with some of the guests documenting locations like staircases, security checkpoints and hallways.
The committee denied that he ever gave a tour of the Capitol itself on Jan. 5, when it was closed to tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a review of security footage, the U.S. Capitol Police determined last month that there was “no evidence” that Loudermilk led the group into the Capitol and said “we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.”for information about a tour he led of the Capitol complex before the assault. Loudermilk
But the committee suggested otherwise in a letter to Loudermilk on Wednesday. The new footage shows the congressman leading “a tour of approximately ten individuals led by you to areas in the Rayburn, Longworth, and Cannon House Office Buildings, as well as the entrances to tunnels leading to the U.S. Capitol,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote. The group stayed for “several hours,” he wrote, and some “photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists.”
Some of the individuals on the tour would join the Jan. 6 rally near the White House and the ensuing march on the Capitol, the committee said, and one of the men on the tour made “disturbing” threats against members of Congress. The panel did not say whether any of those on the tour entered the Capitol on the day of the attack.
“The select committee has learned that some individuals you sponsored into the complex attended the rally at the Ellipse on the morning of January 6, 2021,” Thompson wrote. “According to video recordings from that day obtained by the select committee, the individual who appeared to photographs a staircase in the Longworth House Office building filmed a companion with a flagpole appearing to have a sharpened end who spoke to the camera saying, ‘It’s for a certain person,” while making an aggressive jabbing motion. Later, these individuals joined the unpermitted march from the Ellipse to the U.S. Capitol. While standing near the Capitol grounds, the same individual made a video that contained detailed and disturbing threats against specific members of Congress.
“In the week following January 6, 2021, members urged law enforcement leaders to investigate sightings of ‘outside groups in the complex’ on January 5, 2021 that ‘appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day,'” Thompson continued. “The select committee’s review of surveillance footage showing the above-described tour is consistent with those observations.”
The video recording from Jan. 6 released by the committee appears to show one of the men from the tour making threats against Democratic members of Congress.
“We’re coming in like white on rice,” the individual says on the video. “For Pelosi, Nadler, Schumer, even you, AOC. We’re coming to take you out. We’ll pull you out by your hairs.”
Loudermilk has declined to meet with the committee, and harshly criticized the release of the footage in a statement on Wednesday.
“This false narrative that the Committee and Democrats continue to push, that Republicans, including myself, led reconnaissance tours is verifiably false. No where that I went with the visitors in the House Office Buildings on January 5th were breached on January 6th; and, to my knowledge, no one in that group was criminally charged in relation to January 6th,” he said. “Once again, the Committee released this letter to the press, and did not contact me. This type of behavior is irresponsible and has real consequences — including ongoing death threats to myself, my family, and my staff.”
A constituent of Loudermilk who was on the Jan. 5 tour and has spoken to the Jan. 6 committee told CBS News he came to Washington, D.C., for the Trump rally with other constituents who were in touch with Loudermilk. The constituent denied that it was a “reconnaissance tour.”
“That’s the farthest thing from the truth,” this person said. “Quite frankly, it’s a disgusting allegation. It was Jan. 5, and nobody had any idea what would happen on Jan. 6.”
The constituent said they didn’t go into the Capitol building.
“[Rep. Loudermilk] gave us a tour of his office and I don’t know exactly what buildings they were in and that was it,” the person said. “I was very excited to meet a representative of Congress. I was quite impressed with the life of a congressman, and the amount of work they do.”
In Thompson’s letter to Loudermilk on Wednesday, he again asked that the Republican member meet with the committee as his earliest convenience.
Michael Kaplan contributed to this report.