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Jan. 6 panel asks GOP lawmaker to testify on Capitol tour

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FILE – Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Georgia, listens to a speaker during a press conference, May 4, 2021, in Marietta, Georgia. Loudermilk of Georgia is the latest GOP lawmaker to be asked to cooperate with the House Select Committee investigating the violence that took place on January 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, File)

PA

The congressional committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection asks a House Republican for more information about a tour of the building the panel says it conducted the day before the deadly attack.

The committee’s letter to Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk on Thursday is the latest attempt by House investigators to gain cooperation from GOP lawmakers in the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. Donald Trump, violently stormed the Capitol that day. and halted certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

“Based on our review of evidence in the possession of the select committee, we believe you have information regarding a visit you conducted to portions of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021,” Reps. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi wrote. and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the chair and vice-chair of the committee.

“Public reports and testimony indicate that certain individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as House and Senate office buildings” prior to the insurgency, they said. they wrote.

The voluntary request comes as the panel has already conducted more than 1,000 interviews on the insurgency and prepares for a series of hearings in June. Questions about Capitol tours before the attack have lingered since the days after, when Democrats suggested some Republican members may have aided the rioters. But so far, there has been no public evidence of this help.

The letter to Loudermilk said Republicans on a separate group, the House Administration Committee, had previously said they had reviewed Jan. 5 security footage and said there were “no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats”. Loudermilk is a member of this panel.

But the committee’s Jan. 6 review of the evidence “directly contradicts this denial,” Thompson and Cheney wrote.

This earlier assessment from GOP members came after three dozen Democrats sent a letter to the committee days after the attack, citing alleged sightings of “unusually large” groups led by Republican lawmakers or their staff in the days leading up to the attack. the attack.

In a statement Thursday, Loudermilk said the Jan. 5 tour was with a constituent family and took place at the House office buildings and not inside the Capitol building itself.

“We call on Capitol Police to release the tapes,” Loudermilk and Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., a senior House Administration Committee member, wrote in a joint response to the letter.

The request comes a week after the panel issued subpoenas to five Republican members, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The decision to issue subpoenas to McCarthy, R-Calif., and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama was a show of force spectacular by the panel, which has already interviewed nearly 1,000 witnesses and collected more than 100,000 documents as it investigates the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries.

The five Republicans, all of whom have repeatedly downplayed the legitimacy of the investigation, have yet to say whether they will comply.

In total, the committee has now publicly requested the cooperation of at least eight lawmakers who it says have information critical to the planning and execution of the attack and former President Donald Trump’s potential role in his attack. incentive.