Jan. 6 committee says it has evidence that 'directly contradicts' GOP denials of 'reconnaissance tours'
Congressman Barry Louderrmilk. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Georgia GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk is facing scrutiny from the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"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," Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote in a letter to Loudermilk on Thursday.

"The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers. Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6, 2021," read the letter, which was also signed by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).

"In response to those allegations, 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," the letter stated.

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The letter proposes a meeting during the week of May 23.

"The letter comes more than a year after some House Democrats accused Republicans of providing tours in the days leading up to January 6 to individuals who later stormed the Capitol," CNN noted. "Rep. Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat from New Jersey, accused Republicans in the days after the insurrection of providing tours to people who then used the information they learned from their visit about the complex's layout to aid in their attempt to interrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results."

Sherrill said she saw members of Congress leading groups of people through the Capitol on a "reconnaissance" tour on Jan. 5. Her comments came on Jan. 12, 2021.

The committee investigating the 2021 US Capitol assault plans to stage public hearings in June and release its findings at the height of the midterm election campaign later this year.

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Across eight hearings, key witnesses interviewed by the congressional probe will testify publicly for the first time on the alleged plot that led to the January 6 insurrection as well as the events of the day itself.

"We'll tell the story about what happened," Thompson told reporters.

"We will use a combination of witnesses, exhibits, things that we have through the tens of thousands of exhibits... as well as the hundreds of witnesses we deposed or just talked to in general."

The hearings are expected to make for blockbuster television -- potentially on a par with the Watergate hearings or Donald Trump's two impeachments -- as America relives minute by minute the day a mob of the defeated president's supporters stormed Congress to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to 2020 election winner Joe Biden.

The bench of seven Democrats and two Republicans will explore allegations that Trump inspired the violence through months of false claims about election fraud, as part of an illegal plot to stay in power.

Trump and his inner circle deny all accusations of wrongdoing, characterizing their election disinformation and alleged machinations to overturn the results as a good-faith attempt to clear up widespread corruption.

Trump's ultra-loyal Republican base argues that the investigation is a "witch hunt" to distract from rampant inflation and a burgeoning immigration crisis ahead of elections in November that could see the Democrats lose control of Congress.

With additional reporting by AFP