GOP wants Dems investigated over Jan. 6 Capitol 'reconnaissance' claims

Protesters confront police inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2020. (Video screenshot)

House Republicans filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against House Democrats who claimed that Republican members gave “reconnaissance” tours to constituents ahead of the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol.

Pointing out that the Democrats presented no evidence to back their claim, the GOP letter to the Committee on Ethics argues House rules prohibit a member “from making false, spurious, and unsubstantiated accusations against other Members,” the Daily Caller reported.

Several dozen Democrats, led by New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill, alleged that GOP members of Congress led “suspicious” groups through the Capitol Complex ahead of the Jan. 6 incident, which happened during and after a rally by President Trump in which he encouraged supporters to “peacefully” protest the certification of the 2020 vote.

The complaint, from GOP members of the House Administration Committee, noted Sherrill had said she was worried some of her colleagues had provided “reconnaissance” tours.

Sherrill had claimed: “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. Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex. The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious.”

However, Capitol Police decided not to respond, and Democrats have not been able to provide evidence to support the accusations.

The House Republicans, emphasizing the claims were made “without evidence,” noted that in an “official appearance from her congressional office, which was broadcast on her official Facebook account, Rep. Sherrill doubled down on these unsubstantiated allegations, arguing for punishment for crimes that did not occur.”

Sherill said: “I also intend to see that … those Members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on January 5th for reconnaissance for the next day—those Members of Congress who incited the violent crowd, those Members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy—I’m going to see that they’re held accountable.”

Previously, House Republicans had asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to explain what happened with security before and on that day.

Pelosi’s office responded to Fox News by putting blame on the Republican lawmakers and saying that safety is not their priority, the report said.

Now the Republicans are blaming Pelosi for not securing the building.

The GOP letter said: “The problem is that no Republican Member of Congress led any kind of ‘reconnaissance’ tours through the Capitol on any date, including January 5, 2021. Security footage captured by the U.S. Capitol Police easily confirms these facts. Despite the threat presented by the Sherrill Letter to these Republican Members and to the House itself, Respondents appear not to have let their lack of evidence or the truth stand in the way of making these false accusations.”

The Republicans also charge the Democrats have failed to “adhere to the highest moral principles” and that had the same remarks been made on the House floor, the speakers likely would have been censured.

They say the Sherrill accusations are “a public allegation of a crime,” requesting an investigation into the Democrats’ “cavalier behavior.”

The letter, signed by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., said: “It has been my hope that, following the attack on January 6th, Members of Congress of both parties would work together in a bipartisan manner to investigation those events and ensure they do not happen again. Letters like the one drafted by Respondents are irresponsible and only work to spread misinformation and impugn the reputation of the House and its Members.”

The letter was addressed to the chairman of the Committee on Ethics, Theodore Deutsch, and ranking member Jackie Walorski.

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