Thursday 30 March 2023

Target Of ‘Reconnaissance Tour’ Story Fires Back At January 6 Committee

 A House Republican leader accused the January 6 Committee of knowingly spreading false allegations about him giving a “reconnaissance tour” a day before the 2021 U.S. Capitol breach.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), the target of those allegations, shared this week the initial findings of his inquiry into the January 6 panel in his capacity as chairman of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight.

“As the subcommittee continues to go through over 2 million documents provided by the January 6th Select Committee, our initial review has found that their work was solely focused on pushing a pre-determined narrative and they selectively chose ‘facts’ to fit that narrative,” Loudermilk said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I was the target of one of those narratives, when they accused me of giving a ‘reconnaissance tour,'” he added. “We’ve uncovered documents that prove the committee knew that the allegation that I gave a ‘reconnaissance tour’ was verifiably false, yet continued to make public accusations and ultimately printed that lie in their final report.”

At the center of the allegations was a group of people including adults and children that Loudermilk visited as they toured office buildings in the U.S. Capitol complex on January 5, 2021. A day later, on January 6, a crowd of people breached the Capitol building, disrupting lawmakers who were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Loudermilk attracted scrutiny from the now-defunct January 6 Committee as one of the dozens of Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of Electoral College objections over concerns of fraud and other issues. A week after January 6, accusations of a “reconnaissance tour” began to spread among Democrats, Loudermilk notes in a timeline summary document.

After reviewing security footage, the U.S. Capitol Police said in a June 2022 letter that “there is no evidence” that Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol building itself with the group on January 5. “We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious,” added Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger.

Despite this determination by law enforcement, Loudermilk said the January 6 Committee soon released a letter with “selectively edited ‘evidence'” regarding the tour.

There is more.

The congressman pointed to the January 6 Committee’s final report, which the timeline document faults for “repeating false claim of Loudermilk giving ‘a tour of the Capitol.'” That final report, released in December, also briefly discusses a tour participant who attended former President Donald Trump’s January 6 rally on the Ellipse. But this individual, Trevor Hallgren, told the committee he only ever got within 100 to 300 yards of the Capitol building on January 6 and he has not been accused of any crimes in connection to the breach.

The congressman published a video showing the January 6 Committee’s “selective” clips of the tour followed by the “full” footage of him on January 5. In addition, Loudermilk shared video from one of the visitors in the group that his office says the January 6 Committee received and “shows that the group was solely watching the Congressman go to vote.”

In conclusion, Loudermilk said, “It’s clear their work isn’t credible, and they owe every individual whose reputation they attempted to smear an apology.”

Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight, responded to Loudermilk’s disclosure by criticizing Republicans for how they have conducted the investigation.

“As the Ranking Member of the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee, I find it unacceptable – but not surprising – the Republican majority has released these findings without previously sharing any information with the Democratic minority, including myself, my office, and the committee’s Democratic staff,” she said in a statement.

“We have not held any meetings, public or private, to discuss this process,” Torres added before accusing Republicans of ignoring security concerns and siding with “conspiracy theorists.” She specifically mentioned Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who recently aired never-before-seen security Capitol footage from January 6.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who gave Carlson access to the tapes, has accused the January 6 Committee of fostering “politicization.” He recently told Just the News that the January 6 Committee’s handling of matters such as the Loudermilk allegations “puts into question everything else they have said.”

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