The January 6 Committee wants to interview Rep. Barry Loudermilk about a Congressional tour he led the day before the Capitol riot on January 5.
It’s been alleged that the tours were “reconnaissance missions” carried out by groups that wanted to prevent Joe Biden’s election from being certified. Republicans have referred to the charge as a smear and have requested that the Justice Department and the Capitol Police brief GOP members on any evidence that Republicans assisted the rioters in any way.
Neither DoJ nor the Capitol Police ever responded to the GOP request.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice-Chairman Liz Cheney sent a letter to Loudermilk saying they had obtained evidence suggesting that GOP claims that there “were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on” were false.
Loudermilk and Rep. Rodney Davis, the ranking member of the Administration Committee, released their own letter saying that Loudermilk was with a constituent’s family that day.
“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,’” he said in a joint statement with Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL). “The family never entered the Capitol building.”
The letter said the committee’s evidence contradicted a report from the Republicans on the House Committee on Administration, of which Loudermilk is a member. The Administration Committee’s GOP members sent a letter to the Capitol Police Board after reviewing security footage, reporting that “there were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on” that may have been scouting the building for the next day’s break-in.
“However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial,” the letter said.
No doubt the committee obtained a video showing a tourist on a guided tour wearing a MAGA hat, or some other nonsense that doesn’t prove anything. Every member of Congress conducts these tours. There is zero evidence that Loudermilk or any other Republican member of Congress knowingly conducted tours for Capitol rioters or was involved in any way, shape, or form with the riots. Are we expected to believe that there is evidence of Republican congressional involvement in the riot and it hasn’t been leaked to the New York Times or Washington Post?
Even if some of those who participated in the riot tagged along on some of these tours, unless you can prove a direct connection between the member of Congress knowingly placing the rioter with the tour and that the member had advance knowledge of the riot, STFU and sit down. It’s idiotic to propose a connection just because the timing was “suspicious.”
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” said astronomer Carl Sagan. He was referring to claims of aliens visiting earth, but he may as well have had the Democrats smearing Republicans with baseless charges of complicity in an insurrection in mind.
This is a recycled smear that the Committee wants to regurgitate in the news lull before the public hearings begin on June 9. It’s reminiscent of Captain Queeg’s search for the missing strawberries in The Caine Mutiny. Queeg knew that the strawberries had been eaten by the crew but conducted the investigation anyway, looking to relive his one moment of glory when he had solved the mystery of some missing cheese early in his career.
House Democrats know that no Republican member of Congress knowingly helped Capitol rioters in scouting the building. It’s a smear without evidence or logic. But all Republicans can do is make a record contradicting this vicious smear.