According to Politico, more than 30 House Democrats are demanding to know more from Capitol security officials about “suspicious” visitors at the Capitol on the day before it was attacked by a pro-Trump mob.
“Many of the Members who signed this letter … witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), in a letter to the acting House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, as well as the acting head of the Capitol Police.
The lawmakers, some of who “have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity,” noted that Capitol tours have been prohibited since March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and they said the tours were so unusual that they were reported to security on Jan. 5, ahead of the following day’s violence.
“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,” they wrote. “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.”
The matter was first raised by Sherrill in a Facebook video on Tuesday, during which she said she saw lawmakers giving “reconnaissance” tours at the Capitol on Jan. 5. The congresswoman did not drop names or explain details of what she witnessed.
She told Politico on Wednesday that she had referred the information to authorities, saying: “We’re requesting an investigation right now with certain agencies.”
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said he’s aware of “a couple” names of colleagues who are being eyed as potentially giving tours to the would-be insurrectionists. But he said he wouldn’t name them yet.
“I’m going to wait to make sure we get verification,” Ryan told a reporter at the Capitol Wednesday.
Ryan said the information was passed to authorities as early as last Wednesday night. He said it involved “handfuls” of people who were escorted through the Capitol. Enough to know that these weren’t “one-on-one” tours or “a small family.”
Image credit: Screengrab / @kyledcheney / Twitter