Committee chairman Bennie Thompson first asked Loudermilk to cooperate with the probe voluntarily this May, giving him an opportunity to discuss the video footage the panel discovered during its review of key Capitol surveillance video.
In a statement, USCP Chief Manger said footage reviewed by the department did show Loudermilk with a group of 12 people that initially ticked up to 15 as they walked through a number of office buildings around the US Capitol. Manger said the guests did not “appear in any tunnels” leading to the Capitol itself.
The committee’s release appears to challenge that narrative, or at the very least, point out behavior it still deems highly suspicious.
“The foregoing information raises questions the Select Committee must answer,” Thompson wrote in a letter to Loudermilk on Wednesday morning.
“Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the US Capitol as well as House and Senate office buildings in advance of January 6, 2021,” Thompson wrote. “For example, in the week following Jan. 6, 2021, members urged law enforcement leaders to investigate sightings of ‘outside groups in the complex’ on Jan. 5, 2021, that ‘appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day. “
Letter to Rep Loudermilk Capitol Tour June 15 by Daily Kos on Scribd
The individuals accompanying Loudermilk, the committee noted, “photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints.”
Including an image in the letter of an individual appearing to photograph a staircase in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building, Thompson notes Loudermilk is just nearby talking to other members of the group in the background.
In the nearly three-minute-long video shared by the committee, the man believed to be part of the Capitol complex tour given by Loudermilk on the 5th is recorded by a friend on the morning of the 6th.
They are near the Washington Monument when his friend shows him a flagpole he’s carrying with a sharpened end.
“That’s for a certain person,” the companion tells the man.
“That’s right, that’s for somebody special, somebody special,” the man responds.
On the day of the Capitol assault, that same man taking photographs of the halls a day before is excitedly heard clamoring about “patriots” converging on the Capitol in a recorded video.
“There’s no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler, we’re coming for you. We’re coming in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, Schumer, even you AOC. We’re coming to take you out and pull you out by your hairs.
How about that Pelosi? Mind as well make yourself another appointment. When I get done with you you gonna need a shine up on top of that bald head, ”he says.
The video also shows two photos obtained by the committee that appear to have been taken by the same person. One photo is of a nameplate for Rep. Jerry Nadler, something that would typically appear just outside of a lawmaker’s office. Another photo captured the physical directory of Democratic Majority members.
Before the video came out, on Tuesday, Loudermilk accused the committee of falsely accusing him of giving reconnaissance tours.
“To my knowledge, no one that visited my office on January 5 was involved in any illegal activity on Jan. 6, so if the committee has the evidence they should release it, not just make accusations, ”Loudermilk told CNN.
A representative for US Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Punchbowl News was the first to report that the committee had this footage.
When calls for an investigation were first raised by a group of more than 30 Democrats about Loudermilk’s tours, he issued a swift denial and filed a House Ethics complaint against Democrats who demanded a closer examination.
Loudermilk slammed the Democrats’ request for an investigation as a “stain” on Congress. He also voted to overturn the certification of the 2020 election results on Jan. 6 after the attack.
During the riot, Loudermilk, according to texts obtained by the select committee, sent a message to Trump’s then-chief of staff Mark Meadows.
‘It’s really bad up here on the Hill. They have breached the Capitol, ”he wrote.
Loudermilk has defended the tour he gave of the Capitol on Jan. 5 as something he did for “a constituent family with young children” merely eager to meet with their congressman.
A member of Democratic Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García’s staff, deputy communications director and digital director Ben Kamens, said on Twitter Wednesday that he saw the group identified by the committee in the Capitol Tunnel between the Longworth and Cannon and Capitol building between 1 and 2 pm on Jan. 5.
Kamens said they were unescorted. He has already provided this information to the committee and law enforcement.
Kamens told Daily Kos over email Wednesday that he remotely interviewed voluntarily with the committee in February and sat for just under an hour.
“I approached one of them and asked them to put on a mask because people that work here have pre-existing conditions and it was before the wide availability of vaccines,” Kamens said.
Indeed, the Capitol building was closed to visitors and anyone on unofficial business.
“It was a group of mostly older women [in their] 40s to 50s and young men, late teens early 20s that I saw, ”Rep. Garcia’s communications director said Wednesday. “I wouldn’t have gone that way if it wasn’t an intern’s first day and I wasn’t showing her how to get around on our way to get her ID badge.”
At the time Kamens said he witnessed this, he was working as a congressional aide to Rep. Andy Kim, a New Jersey Democrat.
Kim inadvertently made headlines after the insurrection. He was spotted cleaning up debris from the floor of the rotunda after the building was secured.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat who has experienced routine harassment by the former president’s supporters and Republican members of Congress responded to the video release in a tweet on Wednesday.
Rep. Loudermilk did not respond immediately to a request for comment Wednesday.
We talk to expert Brandi Buchman about everything you need to know about the Jan. 6 committee on Daily Kos’ The Brief podcast