30 House Democrats are calling for an investigation into “suspicious” Capitol tours that took place the day before the Capitol riot.
More than 30 Democratic members of Congress are calling for an investigation into what they believe were suspicious tours of the U.S. Capitol, alleging that the visitors to the Capitol Complex on Tuesday appeared to be “associated” with the Wednesday rally ahead of the breach of the Capitol building. The coalition led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill sent a letter to acting House Sergeant-At-Arms Timothy Bodgett, acting Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Jennifer Hemmingway, and acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman requesting an “immediate investigation into the suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 — the day before the attacks on the Capitol.”
According to the letter, tweeted by Sherrill Wednesday afternoon, she and other lawmakers noticed tours conducted on Jan. 5, that were “a noticeable and concerning departure from the procedures in place as of March 2020 that limited the number of visitors to the Capitol.” The letter continues to say the tours were “so concerning” they were reported to the Sergeant at Arms that Tuesday. “The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day,” the letter alleges in part, before stating “Given the events of January 6, the ties between these groups inside the Capitol Complex and the attacks on the Capitol need to be investigated” (The Hill).
The letter comes after Sherrill said Tuesday during a livestream on Facebook that she witnessed colleagues leading people on “reconnaissance tours” of the Capitol before the attack, which left five people dead and the building damaged. She said she intends “to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 — a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”
Sherrill is not alone in her concerns about security at the Capitol complex in the lead up to the assault on the building. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s (D-Mass.) chief of staff Sarah Groh told The Boston Globe in an interview published Wednesday that all the panic buttons in Pressley’s office were removed before the attack. The previous Capitol Police chief and House and Senate sergeants-at-arms all resigned after the breach. The letter concludes, before laying out a number of questions, “the fact remains that there were unusually large groups of people throughout the Capitol who could only have gained access to the Capitol Complex from a Member of Congress or a member of their staff.” No Republican lawmakers signed the letter calling for the investigation. The letter doesn’t provide any evidence of the allegations (WFLA).
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
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