- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2023

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise called on Democratic lawmakers to publicly apologize to Rep. Barry Loudermilk for falsely accusing him of helping plan the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Transparency is an important thing, and so the public is going to be able to see a lot more information. But ultimately, and for my colleague Barry Loudermilk, I think he’s owed an apology by every Democrat who questioned him on the events prior to Jan. 6,” Mr. Scalise, Louisiana Republican, told reporters. “They implied things about him that weren’t true that those tapes revealed. And I’m waiting for those apologies to come because they owe it to him.”

The Jan. 6 select committee accused Mr. Loudermilk, Georgia Republican, of leading a reconnaissance mission through the Capitol the day before the protest, implying he helped the insurrectionists attack the building.

“The behavior of these individuals during the Jan. 5, 2021, tour raises concerns about their activity and intent while inside the Capitol complex,” stated committee Chairman Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, wrote in a letter to Mr. Loudermilk, requesting his testimony.

Mr. Thompson denied to The Washington Times that the committee deceptively edited any footage the panel released.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, told Politico last June she was “sickened” when she saw the initial video clip of Mr. Loudermilk.

The Times contacted Ms. Jackson Lee’s office for comment but did not hear back.

Among the new Jan. 6 Capitol security footage released by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, to Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson was that of Mr. Loudermilk giving a tour to his Georgia constituents of a congressional building down the street from the Capitol.

“The surveillance tape that we reviewed shows this story is a lie. And the Democrats on the committee knew it was a lie when they told it,” Mr. Carlson said of the footage.

According to Mr. Loudermilk, the committee knew the FBI had already cleared him before the Democrats accused him, but wanted to create a story that would fit their narrative.

Mr. Thompson refused to apologize. 

“All he had to do was come and testify before the committee. We could have cleared that up,” he said. Mr. Thompson said the FBI never contacted the committee about clearing Mr. Loudermilk.

“I don’t know what the FBI did. It’s not the FBI’s responsibility to share a private issue with an individual,” he said.

However, Capitol Police released a letter clearing the congressman the week that the committee released the video of Mr. Loudermilk‘s tour group.

Mr. Thompson said he was “not aware” of the letter.

“I think for the longest time that the Democrats intended to take a look at all these tapes and only show what they wanted to tell and I think the reality is way different,” Mr. Loudermilk told The Times. “It was unfairly characterized and unfairly pitched to inflame the circumstances and emotions.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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