Evidence released by the House January 6 select committee shows members of a tour group led by Georgia Representative Barry Loudermilk shooting video and photographs of hallways, tunnels, and security checkpoints across the US Capitol complex on the day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol
The House January 6 select committee has released video evidence which appears to show members of a tour group led by Georgia Representative Barry Loudermilk photographing and recording “areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints”.
The new footage was made public as part of evidence provided to Mr Loudermilk, a Georgia Republican, along with a letter from select committee chairman Bennie Thompson renewing the panel’s request for Mr Loudermilk to give evidence in a voluntary interview with committee members and staff.
“Based on our review of surveillance video, social media activity, and witness accounts, we understand you led a tour group through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021. That group stayed for several hours, despite the complex being closed to the public on that day,” Mr Thompson wrote, adding that Capitol surveillance footage shot that day and obtained by the panel depicts “a tour of approximately ten individuals” led by Mr Loudermilk viewing “areas in the Rayburn, Longworth, and Cannon House Office Buildings, as well as the entrances to tunnels leading to the US Capitol”.
The chairman also noted that the persons on the tour led by Mr Loudermilk took photographs and video of various hallways, stairways, and Capitol Police security checkpoints, and provided surveillance video screen grabs which depict the congressman leading the tour and standing by while a tour group member shot a photo of a staircase in the Longworth House Office Building.
Another photograph showed members of Mr Loudermilk’s group shooting photos or video of the tunnel connecting the Rayburn House Office Building with the Capitol.
“The behavior of these individuals during the January 5, 2021 tour raises concerns about their activity and intent while inside the Capitol complex,” Mr Thompson wrote.
The new footage comes just a day after Mr Loudermilk claimed to have been exonerated of any wrongdoing by a review of surveillance footage by the Capitol Police.
Mr Loudermilk published a letter from Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger to House administration committee ranking member Rodney Davis, in which the police chief said his department could confirm that the tour group entered the Capitol complex via the Rayburn House Office Building at around 11.00 am and was seen in the basements of the Cannon and Longworth buildings.
Mr Manger said the tour group of approximately 12-14 people never entered the tunnels leading to the US Capitol and added that there was “no evidence” that Mr Loudermilk led them into the Capitol itself.
While the videos and photos released by the panel does not show any of Mr Loudermilk’s group in the tunnels or in the Capitol itself, a tour of the areas they were seen in — including the entrance to the tunnel from the Rayburn building to the Capitol — would allow members to familiarise themselves with how to get between buildings quickly and find the tunnel to the Capitol.
The new evidence released by the select committee appears to answer a question many Democratic House members have been asking since shortly after the worst attack on the Capitol since Major General Robert Ross ordered British troops to burn it during the War of 1812.
The week after the pro-Trump riot, a group of Democrats led by New Jersey Representative Mickie Sherrill asked law enforcement officials to investigate whether “outside groups” that had “appeared to be associated” with the 6 January White House rally had engaged in reconnaissance during tours of the Capitol complex.
Mr Thompson said the panel’s review of Capitol Police surveillance footage showing Mr Loudermilk’s tour group was “consistent with those observations”.
The Mississippi Democrat also revealed that the panel has discovered that several people who Mr Loudermilk led on the 5 January tour attended the 6 January White House rally which immediately preceded the riot.
In video released by the committee, the person who was depicted shooting a photo of the Longworth House Office Building staircase on 5 January showed up the next day with another person who he filmed holding a flag on a pole that had been sharpened to a point.
The unnamed person holding the pole is depicted as saying the apparent weapon was “for a certain person” while aggressively jabbing it into the air.
Mr Thompson said the tour group member later marched to the Capitol and filmed a video in which he made “detailed and disturbing threats against specific members of Congress,” including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler.
Die video, which the select committee made available on YouTube, shows the individual saying: ““There’s no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you”.
Continuing, the person elaborates on that threat.
“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”.
In addition to the audio recording of the threats, the committee video showed that that person had taken a photograph of the name plate outside Mr Nadler’s office.
Mr Thompson said he was including a link to the video for Mr Loudermilk to view because he has heretofore declined to meet with the select commitee.
“The foregoing information raises questions the Select Committee must answer. 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, 202,” he continued before concluding by asking Mr Loudermilk to meet with the panel at his “earliest convenience”.