Rep. Barry Loudermilk isn’t the highest profile conservative on Capitol Hill, though the Georgia Republican does occasionally make headlines. In December 2019, for example, as the House prepared to impeach Donald Trump over his Ukraine extortion scheme, Loudermilk went so far as to suggest Pontius Pilate was fairer to Jesus before his crucifixion.
He did not appear to be kidding.
Today, however, the Georgia Republican is making national news for a far more serious reason. The bipartisan House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack issued this press statement.
Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) today announced that the Select Committee has requested that Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia provide information for the committee’s investigation into the violence of January 6th and its causes. The Select Committee has discovered evidence that Rep. Loudermilk may have information regarding a tour through parts of the U.S. Capitol complex on January 5, 2021.
The issue of pre-riot tours on Capitol Hill has long been provocative, though detailed information about this part of the larger story has been sparse. A week after the attack, for example, Rep. Mikie Sherrill said that she saw a fellow member of Congress giving a “reconnaissance” tour of the Capitol the day before the riot, but the New Jersey Democrat did not identify the lawmaker.
Soon after, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney told MSNBC he’d spoken to a colleague — not Sherrill — who described a member “showing people around” ahead of the attack, but the New York Democrat did not share any additional details.
It was around this same time that 34 House Democrats formally requested that the Capitol Police, among others, examine the alleged tours, pointing to “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex” on Jan. 5.
Their letter did not mention any Republicans by name.
Nevertheless, a year ago last week, Loudermilk issued an angry written statement, condemning the accusations, and insisting, “No Republican Member of Congress led any kind of ‘reconnaissance’ tours through the Capitol, proven by security footage captured by the U.S. Capitol Police.”
The Jan. 6 committee is aware of the Georgia Republican’s denial. It just doesn’t seem prepared to accept what Loudermilk said.
“Based on our review of evidence in the Select Committee’s possession, we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021,” Thompson and Cheney wrote.
Their letter added, “Republicans on the Committee on House Administration — of which you are a Member — claimed to have reviewed security footage from the days preceding January 6th and determined that ‘[t]here were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.’ However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial.”
Watch this space.