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January 6 Committee Expands Probe of House Republicans
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January 6 Committee Expands Probe of House Republicans

Rep. Barry Loudermilk denies Democrats' allegations that a January 5 tour he gave of the Capitol had any relation to the subsequent attack.

Good morning. Haley has been solo parenting since Saturday while packing to move. (This process has involved multiple croissants for Baby Lewis.) Audrey is stepping in with an update on the work of the January 6 committee. 

Loudermilk in the Spotlight

(Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.)

One week after announcing subpoenas against GOP Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, and Andy Biggs for testimony in the events leading up to the Capitol riot, the House Select Committee on January 6 announced yet another House Republican target for inquiry: Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk.

Committee Chairmen Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney said in a letter to Loudermilk on Thursday that the committee had obtained evidence he conducted a tour of the U.S. Capitol on January 5, 2021, one day before the riot. The letter asked him to voluntarily cooperate with the committee this week and sit for an interview for information regarding the 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” ahead of the riot, the letter said. 

“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,’” the letter continued. “However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial.”

Last year, in the aftermath of the attack, a group of House Democrats claimed in a letter that they’d witnessed unusual access given to large groups of visitors inside the U.S. Capitol complex on January 5, 2021, when visitor access to the complex was restricted at the time due to the pandemic.

In a video posted by the House GOP’s Administration Committee Twitter account on Friday. Loudermilk said that he took a family and their guests to lunch in a House building cafeteria that day and that some of them were wearing red baseball caps.

In a March 19 statement he co-authored with GOP Rep. Rodney Davis, the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee, Loudermilk flatly denied that the tour was intended to be a reconnaissance mission, as House Democrats had suggested in the days following the riot. 

“No place that the family went on the 5th was breached on the 6th, the family did not enter the Capitol grounds on the 6th, and no one in that family has been investigated or charged in connection to January 6th,” his statement said. 

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Loudermilk’s campaign on Saturday.

For months now, Republicans have largely derided the Select Committee as a partisan effort created for the sole purpose of smearing the GOP. Not a single House Republican who has been asked to voluntarily cooperate with the committee has agreed to do so.

The Select Committee’s full report is expected to be released in the fall ahead of the November midterms. House Republican leaders are expected to dissolve or significantly restructure the committee if they retake the lower chamber this cycle.

What Comes Next?

The Select Committee will begin holding televised congressional hearings this month, some of which will air in primetime. The first hearing is scheduled for June 9.  “We will use a combination of witnesses, exhibits, things that we have through the tens of thousands of exhibits we’ve … looked at, as well as the hundreds of witnesses we deposed or just talked to in general,” Committee Co-Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters in April.

One development that could influence this month’s hearings is whether a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel grants the Republican National Committee’s request for an emergency stay on the House Select Committee’s subpoena for records and testimony from Salesforce, the third-party vendor the RNC used to send fundraising emails in the lead-up to January 6, 2021. 

The RNC responded to the subpoena by suing the House Select Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the third-party vendor, Salesforce. 

But in a May 1 ruling, a D.C. District Court dismissed the RNC’s “claims against all defendants except the third-party vendor as barred by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, dismiss as moot one of the claims against the third-party vendor, and enter judgment against the RNC on the rest of its claims against the third-party vendor.”

The RNC asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to make a decision on the stay by Wednesday.

On the Floor

The House is out this week.

The Senate is in. Senators are expected to consider whether to proceed with a House-passed domestic terrorism prevention bill this week. The chamber will also consider a slate of executive nominees.

Key Hearings

  • The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is meeting this afternoon for a hearing on building an affordable and resilient food supply chain. Information and video here.

  • Officials from leading baby formula brands and FDA Commissioner Robert Califf will appear Wednesday morning at a House Energy and Commerce hearing on the national baby formula shortage. Information and livestream here.

  • A House Appropriations subcommittee will also meet Wednesday afternoon for a hearing on the baby formula crisis. Information and livestream here.

  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday morning about the Iran nuclear talks and America’s policy toward Iran. Information and livestream here.

  • The Helsinki Commission will meet Wednesday afternoon to examine how to support Ukrainian refugees. Information and livestream here.

  • Senators on the Finance Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday afternoon on supply chain resiliency and alleviating backlogs. Information and livestream here.

Of Note

Audrey Fahlberg's Headshot

Audrey Fahlberg

Audrey is a former reporter for The Dispatch.