Jan. 6 Panel Targets GOP Rep. & Reveals Potential Pre-Jan. 6 Recon

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There’s apparently significantly more to the story of a group Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) had in D.C. the day before the Capitol attack.

The January 6 committee in the House got in touch with Loudermilk in May in hopes of discussing that group’s activities with him, but he pushed back — and now the panel has released evidence that people with the Georgia Congressman in House office buildings on January 5 took suspicious actions such as photographing a tunnel that led from one of the buildings to the Capitol building itself. “That group stayed for several hours, despite the complex being closed to the public on that day,” a letter from riot committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) says of the tour group Loudermilk led, later adding: “Individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints.”

A joint statement from Loudermilk and a fellow House Republican back in May insisted that a “constituent family with young children meeting with their Member of Congress in the House Office Buildings is not a suspicious group or ‘reconnaissance tour.’ The family never entered the Capitol building” — and in hindsight, that wording certainly sounds careful, because while they might not have gone inside the Capitol, people on the tour seemed closely interested in ways of getting from the House office space they traversed into the building breached the next day.

And, Thompson’s new letter reveals: “According to video recordings from [January 6] obtained by the Select Committee, the individual who appeared to photograph 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.” These two individuals apparently later went towards the Capitol building on the day of the riot, although they don’t appear to have gone inside of it. The staircase-photographing individual apparently made a video around that time in which he said, referencing the Capitol: “They got it surrounded. It’s all the way up there on the hill, and it’s all the way around, and they’re coming in, coming in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, even you, AOC. We’re coming to take you out and pull you out by your hairs… When I get done with you, you’re going to need a shine on top of that bald head.”

“We again ask you to meet with the Select Committee at your earliest convenience,” Thompson’s letter to Loudermilk concludes. A pre-riot plan provided to then-Proud Boys national leader Enrique Tarrio called “1776 Returns” outlined an ambition to occupy House and Senate office buildings near the Capitol; the plan was cited in a recent superseding indictment laying out charges against Tarrio and others of seditious conspiracy. Thus, despite the fact Loudermilk’s guests didn’t go in the Capitol while with the Congressman, they seemed interested in how to get there — and the locations where they did stop by were actually among those targeted.

Featured image: Brett Davis, available under a Creative Commons license