McCarthy blasts Jan. 6 Democrat investigators for tarring GOP lawmaker when evidence vindicated him
Speaker says authorities, video footage exonerated Rep. Barry Loudermilk even before he was accused.
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tells Just the News that he has doubts about the validity of many of the Democrat-led January 6 committee findings after learning that the panel falsely accused a GOP congressman last year of leading a pre-attack surveillance mission after being told the evidence actually vindicated the lawmaker.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), the chairman of the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee, is planning to release evidence later this week showing House Democrats last year had Justice Department information, videotaped evidence and witness testimony that contradicted their high-profile and later debunked claim he helped Jan. 6 defendants case the Capitol a day before the riot.
McCarthy, who has authorized the release of all the Capitol security footage from the attack, said he is aware of the evidence that Loudermilk will be releasing and found it troubling that the committee led by then-Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and since-defeated Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) were willing to tar a sitting member of Congress when knowing the evidence showed he was innocent.
"This is really why I'm all about transparency," McCarthy said in an interview aired Monday night on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show on the Real America's Voice network. "I'm trying to put everything out. Because everything I look at what the Jan. 6 committee did, they tried to put it in a scope of their own eyes, their own view where they wouldn't even let Republicans on the committee.
"Then they tried to blame Barry Loudermilk for something he didn't do, because Republicans weren't on the committee. But we proved that it's not true. They said he led a tour over in the Capitol. He never went in the Capitol the day before."
McCarthy was asked whether he was certain the Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee knew the allegations they made last spring against Loudermilk were false even before they leveled them. "They knew," he said. "I know they knew. And the one thing after they made that accusation we had [recently retired Rep.] Rodney Davis go out and show the tape, and even the Capitol Police came forward to the Sergeant at Arms and said this isn't true. Why didn't they recant that? ... They told them ahead of time.
"And so what happens in these situations, something like that, it puts into question everything else they have said."
McCarthy said he has found other contradictions in the claims the Democrat-led committee made last year, including the amount of video footage that was available from the event.
"They told us in the beginning there's only 14,000 hours of tape," he said. "There's more than 40,000 hours of tape."
Earlier this month, the speaker authorized a full-scale review of the Jan. 6 panel's work to uncover other falsehoods or security issues that should be addressed by the new GOP House majority. He named Loudermilk and his subcommittee to lead the inquiry.
In a statement to Just the News on Monday evening, Loudermilk said he will be releasing evidence this week showing that the Jan. 6 committee had information from federal agents, videotapes and witnesses showing he was innocent before they even made the accusation.
"The Subcommittee on Oversight has uncovered evidence that proves the Jan. 6 committee knew I did not lead a group of visitors on a reconnaissance tour of the Capitol on Jan. 5, and that every single one of the visitors with me that day were innocent," he said. "Unfortunately, the Jan. 6 Committee decided to ignore the facts to fit a political narrative. As chairman of the subcommittee, I promise we will separate fact from fiction."
Loudermilk's saga with the Jan. 6 committee exploded into public view last May when Thompson and Cheney sent him a letter asking him to testify and directly suggesting he might have led a reconnaissance tour with Jan. 6 attackers to case the Capitol a day ahead of the riot.
"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," the letter charged. "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 the insurrection, they wrote.
You can read that letter here:
Loudermilk directly denied the allegation, calling it a "smear job" and saying he simply gave a tour of adjacent House office buildings to constituents.
Months later, the Capitol Police backed Loudermilk's story, saying they exhaustively investigated the claims and debunked the notion that Loudermilk led attackers on a pre-attack reconnaissance tour.
"There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021," Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger wrote in a letter to Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), the then-ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee. "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."
You can read that letter here:
Thompson is declining to offer Loudermilk an apology. "We concluded our works, and we move on," Thompson told NBC News. "... All he had to do was come and testify before the committee, and we could have cleared it up."
Loudermilk suggested Thompson seems to be unaware of the Capitol Police letter that cleared him. "It amazes me that the Chairman of the J6 Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), was not aware of the Capitol Police letter clearing me of the 'reconnaissance tour' lie their committee manufactured," he tweeted in recent days.
McCarthy told Just the News he believes the best way for Congress to resolve the many lingering questions about Jan. 6 is to release all the evidence, not the curated facts the Democrats put in their final report.
"That's what creates so much problem," he said. "That's why transparency is the best way to go. That's why they should have handled it in a transparent manner. Let both sides be a part of it. Let the truth come out."