Jan. 6 panel gets caught spreading a whopper worthy of Russia collusion, Biden laptop

Capitol police chief says there is 'no evidence,' as Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney alleged, that a GOP lawmaker ran a reconnaissance mission for Jan. 6 protesters

Published: June 13, 2022 8:16pm

Updated: June 13, 2022 11:14pm

The Donald Trump era has brought countless examples in which Democrats, bureaucrats, and the establishment news media wove a sensational tale that turned out to be false.

There's the Russia collusion caper that wasn't, the 51 security experts who wrongly claimed Hunter Biden's laptop was misinformation, the Ukraine quid-pro-quo call that had neither a quid nor a quo, and the Moscow bounties on U.S. troops' heads that never happened.

Now the Jan. 6 panel — led in part by the Russian collusion advocate Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. — has been called on the carpet for falsely suggesting a GOP lawmaker ran a reconnaissance mission inside the Capitol for Jan. 6 protesters the day before the riot.

Ironically, the man who blew that whistle is the new Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, who got his job on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's watch but handed Republicans vindication on an allegation they long claimed was a smear.

Manger wrote in a letter Monday to Congress, which Just the News obtained, that an exhaustive review of security footage found no evidence that Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia did anything other than give constituents a tour of some congressional office buildings.

In fact, the chief said, the congressman didn’t even enter the U.S. Capitol with the group.

“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021,” Manger wrote in a letter to Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., the 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.”

Republicans weary of being falsely accused and vindicated months later pounced on the revelation.

"All I can think of is this is a Soviet-style propaganda trial, like a show trial," Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., who spent time working in Communist Yugoslavia earlier in her career, told Just the News. "They put this tape together using propaganda, selected words and clauses cut and pasted to smear the people they want to smear and to get the outcome."

Rep, Rodney Davis, the Illinois Republican who pressed Capitol Police to review the evidence and clear Loudermilk, said Democrats who besmirched his colleague's name need to face accountability before the House Ethics Committee. 

"The Democrats need to be ashamed of themselves," Davis told the "Just the News, Not Noise" television show Monday night.

Former Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, who played a role unraveling the Russia collusion narrative, said Democrats have reached the political limits of the proverbial boy-cry-wolf tale, and it is time for their enablers in the mainstream media to push back. Some of the biggest names in media reported the Loudermilk allegations when they surfaced last month.

"I'm wondering how many of these political writers — The New York Times Washington Post, all these folks — are actually lining up to give the retractions," Collins told Just the News. "...Let's just be honest. They buy any narrative they can to impugn conservative congressmen, to malign Donald Trump, to make this event that they're trying to pin basically on the conservative movement. And they're willing to destroy lives, you know, really to do it without actually investigating, without reporting."

The Loudermilk tale gives a case study on how an unsubstantiated claim spreads from one congressperson to the next, requiring weeks before officials knock it down with facts and evidence.

Manger’s letter directly undercuts allegations made a month ago by Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the chairman and vice chairwoman of the Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee. They sent a letter released to the media in May demanding Loudermilk volunteer testimony and explain why he was giving a tour of the Capitol the day before the riots, suggesting it could be part of an effort to help case the Capitol building before the Jan. 6 protests.

"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," Cheney and Thompson wrote. "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."

The two cited an earlier letter from Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill that alleged some GOP lawmakers gave tours on Jan. 5, 2021, that involved “suspicious behavior and access” and appeared to give defendants who stormed the Capitol the next day "an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex."

"The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious," Sherrill wrote.

Manger’s letter unequivocally cleared Loudermilk, noting his constituent group of 12 to 15 people never even reached the Capitol and did not even enter the tunnels from the adjacent office buildings. Instead, they visited an exhibit in the Rayburn House Office building.

“At no time did the group appear in any tunnels that would have led them to the U.S. Capitol,” the chief wrote to Davis. “In addition, the tunnels leading to the U.S. Capitol were posted with USCP officers and admittance to the U.S. Capitol without a Member of Congress was not permitted on January 5, 2021.”

Davis lambasted Democrats for using the media to smear a colleague’s name before they had proof of wrongdoing, adding Manger confirmed from video footage what his own investigation had found weeks earlier.

“This is what we knew all along. We knew that there was no Republican who led anybody who breached the Capitol on a reconnaissance tour, leading up to January 6,” he said. “I had my team go through the tapes back in January to verify that because one of my colleagues, Mikie Sherrill, she started this rumor that somehow Republicans were taking people on reconnaissance tours. She said she used her military training to recognize this. Well, you know what, there is no evidence that that's ever happened.”

Davis said those who proffered the allegations should “be held accountable by the House Ethics Committee.”

“That is behavior unbecoming of a member of Congress, and you ought to be held accountable for that,” he said.

Spokespersons for Thompson and Cheney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The unraveling of the Loudermilk allegations is the second major falsehood to blow up on Democrats running the Jan. 6 committee, which has no members selected by GOP leaders.  

Last November, Thompson’s team was forced to apologize to former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik for making a false allegation that he attended a Jan. 5 meeting in Washington to plot blocking the certification of the November 2020 elections in Congress. The admission of error came after Just the News obtained toll and phone records showing Kerik was in New York and could not have attended the meeting.

"In advance of our deposition of Mr. Kerik, we wanted to correct an error in the letter accompanying the subpoena that you accepted on his behalf," the committee wrote Kerik’s lawyer.

The Loudermilk allegations, however, got nationwide attention as outlets as diverse as CNN, CBS News, and The Washington Post aired the Thompson-Cheney letter, casting a pall over the Georgia congressman though they offered no direct proof he helped carry out a surveillance operation

As such the allegations are now relegated to a long list of Democrat-contrived, news-media driven falsehoods that include Russia collusion, troop bounties, a Ukraine quid-pro-quo, and the claims by 51 national security officials who claimed Hunter Biden’s laptop was a Russian disinformation operation.

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