Last night, FoxNews personality Tucker Carlson released the first of 44,000 hours of surveillance and body camera video covering the January 6 demonstration in the US Capitol. This video has been in the possession of the “Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.” My colleague Nickarama gave a terrific rundown of the video released by Carlson (Tucker Releases Clips That Blow up the Jan. 6 Narrative). What last night’s clips show is that several of the narratives pushed by the January 6 star chamber were blatant lies; my colleague Jim Thompson has an excellent reflection on the lies told by the J6 Committee to push a false version of the events of January 6; see From Butch O’Hare to Pat Tillman to Brian Sicknick – When Government and Media Lie to Create Useful Myths.
One of the many egregious lies was the slander of Georgia Representative Barry Loudermilk.
In March 2021, one of the prosecutors in the coming show trials, Michael Sherwin, claimed that the government investigators who had skipped completely over Ray Epps and the mysterious pipe-bomber were now investigating really important stuff like the possibility that some of the demonstrators may have legally visited the US Capitol.
On May 19, 2022, the leadership of the silly little kangaroo court investigating the “insurrection” on January 6 sent Rep. Loudermilk a letter alleging that he led a “reconnaissance” tour of the Capitol on January 5 and demanding answers.
The leaders of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol asked a Republican congressman on Thursday to submit to questioning about a tour of the complex he gave one day before the riot, saying they were looking into whether rioters had conducted reconnaissance of the building before the rampage.
In a Thursday letter to Representative Barry Loudermilk, the top two members of the panel said investigators had obtained evidence that the Georgia Republican had led a tour through parts of the Capitol complex on Jan. 5, 2021, when it was closed to visitors because of pandemic restrictions. Mr. Loudermilk has denied having led any “reconnaissance” tour.
“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 Jan. 6, 2021,” said a letter to Mr. Loudermilk from Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the panel, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman.
They did not directly allege that any person escorted by Mr. Loudermilk later attacked the Capitol. But they suggested that they had obtained evidence that he had led visitors around the complex, writing that their review of evidence “directly contradicts” Republicans’ denials that closed-circuit security camera footage showed no such tours had taken place.
The odious little trolls of the NeverTrump movement had a field day with the lie.
The funny thing is that the letters the January 6 goobers sent to Loudermilk were never sent to him. They were just released to the press.
Loudermilk and other conservatives have accused the Jan. 6 Committee of using the footage to mislead the public and turn people against him. Wednesday night, he released a compilation of threatening phone calls his office has received and accused the committee of putting his safety in jeopardy.
“Once again, instead of contacting me directly, the committee has released carefully edited and select information to the press, with the clear intention of creating a false narrative about the visit to my office by constituents on January 5, 2021,” the Cassville Republican said in a statement. “I, my family, and my staff continue to receive serious threats of violence. I hold the J6 committee members and their staff directly responsible for these unfounded accusations and threats.”
The committee has written Loudermilk two letters asking him to answer questions on the record about the tour, but his office tells us the letters were not sent to him directly and therefore they have nothing to respond to.
But to some Democrats, the footage alone confirmed what they feared all along. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, of New Jersey, was among the members who in the weeks immediately after the insurrection raised concerns that Republicans may have aided rioters by conducting “reconnaissance tours.”
Loudermilk, who had challenged the vote count on January 6 and criticized the January 6 committee, seems to have been targeted for a political hit job in an election year.
He denied any sort of reconnaissance taking place. The Capitol Police investigated and determined there was no “there” there.
A tour of parts of the Capitol complex given by a Republican lawmaker the day before the Jan. 6 riot appears to have been innocuous, the Capitol Police said on Monday, describing a visit that had attracted scrutiny from the House committee examining the attack as simply a meeting with constituents.
“We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed to be suspicious,” J. Thomas Manger, the chief of the Capitol Police, wrote in a letter about the tour, which was conducted by Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia.
Leaders of the House committee had asked Mr. Loudermilk last month to submit to questioning about the tour, saying they were looking into whether rioters had conducted reconnaissance of the building before the rampage.
They did not directly assert that anyone escorted by Mr. Loudermilk had later attacked the Capitol. But they suggested that they had obtained evidence that he had led visitors around the complex, and wrote that their review of evidence “directly contradicts” Republicans’ denials that closed-circuit security camera footage showed no such tours had taken place.
Chief Manger said Capitol Police had reviewed surveillance footage of the complex on Jan. 5 and observed Mr. Loudermilk leading a tour of about 15 people, who visited the Rayburn House Office Building and the Cannon House Office Building.
“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with his group on Jan. 5, 2021,” Chief Manger wrote.
(Read J6 Committee Gets Busted Trying to Spread a Whopper for more details on the Capitol Police investigation.)
The critical item here is that the tour did not go to the US Capitol. Instead, it visited two of the House office buildings. Neither of which was involved in the January 6 demonstration.
When the January 6 final report was released, it stated, “On January 5th, [Trevor] Hallgren took a tour of the Capitol with Representative Barry Loudermilk, during which he took pictures of hallways and staircases.” This is simply a lie. They didn’t even bother to shade the “Capitol” with the broader “Capitol complex.” Instead, they flatly state that the tour went through the Capitol.
The Trevor Hallgren, who they claim used the tour as a cover for a reconnaissance, has not been charged with any crime related to January 6. In fact, according to his voluntary testimony to the J6 Committee (see page 75), the closest he got to the Capitol was about 2-300 yards, and while the demonstration happened, he was eating lunch with friends in a cafe. According to his own testimony, he didn’t know Loudermilk was his representative; he joined an ad hoc tour led mostly by, he says, Representative Loudermilk’s wife. He didn’t know other people on the tour and spent most of the tour on his cell phone trying to resolve a credit card problem. His testimony about the tour starts on page 8 of the transcript.
When the January 6 Committee released its report, it included a video of the tour called “Loudermilk Footage.” It, like the report, paints a fake picture. It makes Mr. Hallgren appear to be on a vendetta against Democrat members when he literally was not there, making this possibly the least effective reconnaissance in the history of covert operations. In the frames where they claim he’s photographing a stairwell, if you look at the wall, you can see the edge of a wooden plaque or picture frame, and he’s pointing at that object.
Here is Representative Loudermilk addressing the libelous accusations on FoxNews with Tucker Carlson.
The January 6 Committee was nothing but a political hit engineered by Nancy Pelosi. Because it was a lineal successor to the political trials of any totalitarian regime, the findings were not required to have any basis in fact. Representative Loudermilk did not lead anyone involved in the Capitol protest through the Capitol because there were no Capitol protesters in the group and because the tour never entered the Capitol. Instead, the January 6 committee used a harmless and unrelated tour to build a narrative that some members of Congress had been involved in the demonstration. It is now up to Speaker McCarthy to call to account all those, including Liz Cheney and Adam “I’m a pilot, not a garden gnome” Kinzinger.