In keeping with the Republican Party’s standard playbook, the new House GOP majority recently decided to launch an investigation, not into the Jan. 6 attack, but into the investigation of the Jan. 6 attack. That was unfortunate, though it was made slightly worse by the lawmaker who’d help lead the charge.
CNN reported a few weeks ago that Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk, in his capacity as the new chair of the House Administration’s subcommittee on oversight, had already begun a review of the House select committee’s work. The Georgia congressman’s name was familiar for a reason: Loudermilk had an evolving explanation last year in response to allegations that he gave a controversial Capitol tour the day before the riot.
Now, that same GOP congressman is helping lead an investigation into the Jan. 6 investigation.
He’s apparently hit the ground running. Roll Call reported yesterday that Loudermilk’s first order of business was exonerating himself.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk looked to clear his name, while taking shots at the Jan. 6 Select Committee, in the first release of findings as part of the House Administration Committee’s reinvestigation of the Capitol attack. ... The Georgia Republican, who is leading the committee’s inquiry into Jan. 6 and the select committee that probed it under Democratic leadership last Congress, released a set of letters, videos and a timeline of events on Tuesday — all of it focused on his own situation.
The document Loudermilk released yesterday was described as a “flash report,” which was a generous label applied to an odd and brief summary.
The Georgia Republican led Capitol Hill tours on the eve of the attack, refused to answer investigators’ questions, and offered the press an evolving explanation of what transpired. Nevertheless, the bipartisan Jan. 6 committee never formally accused Loudermilk of wrongdoing.
It was against this backdrop that the GOP congressman issued a “report” that characterized himself as a victim, while condemning the Jan. 6 committee for trying to “smear” him.
But Loudermilk’s findings were hardly persuasive. He still hasn’t explained why he gave the tours or who participated in the tours. Roll Call’s report also noted that the Georgian appears to have been rather selective in his quotes, omitting relevant context from testimony delivered by someone from his group.
In other words, Loudermilk used his position to exonerate himself, but he didn’t do an especially good job in pursuit of his goal.