Jan. 6 Committee Failed to Preserve Documents, Didn't Investigate Security Failures
Jan. 6 Committee Failed to Preserve Documents, Didn't Investigate Security Failures

By Ryan Morgan

A House Republican reviewing the now-defunct House Jan. 6 Committee has raised concerns that the Democrat-led panel did not properly preserve all records of their work.

This week, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the Committee on House Administration, released records of his communications with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the former head of the House Jan. 6 Committee. Mr. Loudermilk first shared his copies of the communications with Fox News earlier this week and alleged the Jan. 6 Committee did not preserve its deposition footage or documents covering any investigation of security failures at the Capitol.

Mr. Loudermilk told Fox News that the Jan. 6 Committee—which consisted of six Democrats and two Republicans hand-picked by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—was supposed to investigate multiple aspects of the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Loudermilk explained one aspect of the investigation, dubbed the “Blue Team,” was specifically supposed to look at security failures by Capitol officials, but said that particular team appeared to have been “shut down” in order to focus more attention on investigating President Donald Trump’s role in the event.

“Usually when you conduct this level of investigation, you use a database system and everything is digitized, indexed. We got nothing like that. We just got raw data,” Mr. Loudermilk told Fox News. “So it took us a long time going through it and one thing I started realizing is we don’t have anything much at all from the Blue Team.”

Missing Documents

Mr. Loudermilk sent a letter (pdf) to Mr. Thompson on June 26, asking about the apparent missing records.

“I was concerned to discover that some noncurrent records were not archived despite the requirements of the Rules of the House of Representatives and the resolution that established the Select Committee. The video recordings of transcribed interviews and depositions, which featured prominently during the Select Committee’s hearings, were not archived or transferred to the Committee on House Administration,” Mr. Loudermilk wrote in June. “Only written transcripts were provided.”

Mr. Loudermilk’s letter also referenced communications Mr. Thompson had with the Biden White House just days before his committee closed down and Republicans took control of the House. A letter (pdf) Mr. Thompson sent to the Biden White House on Dec. 20, 2022, includes redactions and describes coordinating with Ms. Pelosi’s office to give Jan. 6 committee materials to an undisclosed person. Mr. Loudermilk said Mr. Thompson did not disclose the communication with the White House and “there is no explanation of what transcripts these letters are referring to or why you—in coordination with then-Speaker Pelosi—did not immediately archive the records with the Clerk.”

In a July 7 response, Mr. Thompson said (pdf) that Mr. Loudermilk’s June 26 letter had made “significant factual errors” and asserted that the now-defunct Jan. 6 committee “was not obligated to archive all video recordings of transcribed interviews or depositions.” Mr. Thompson said the redacted materials he described in his Dec. 30 letter pertained to sensitive information that needed protection and that the Executive Branch was still reviewing when Mr. Thompson disbanded the Jan. 6 Committee.

This week, Mr. Loudermilk sent a letter to the Biden White House, requesting they turn over the unredacted version of Mr. Thompson’s Dec. 30 letter, which could reveal more information about the documents he kept secret. The Republican lawmaker also asked the White House for unredacted copies of all communications it had with the Jan. 6 committee, and all documents the Jan. 6 committee provided to the White House.

Capitol Security Failures

In his June 26 letter, Mr. Loudermilk noted that his subcommittee is tasked with overseeing the safety and security of the Capitol.

Republicans have contended that security failures, lack of communication, and delays contributed to the chaos at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. In a report last year, Republicans in the then-House minority issued a report (pdf) assessing “Leadership and law enforcement failures within the U.S. Capitol left the complex vulnerable on January 6, 2021” but that the “Democrat-led investigation in the House of Representatives, however, has disregarded those institutional failings that exposed the Capitol to violence that day.”

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who was in charge of police on Jan. 6, 2021, has described how his officers were unprepared for the events that day, as a result of poor intelligence assessments prior to the events that day, and slow responses after he called for National Guard backup when the crowds gathered around the Capitol.

Then-House Speaker Pelosi called for Mr. Sund’s resignation the day after the Capitol breach and he stepped down on Jan. 8, 2021.

In an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which aired Thursday, Mr. Sund described how threat intelligence teams that work for the Capitol Police were indicating “a low probability of civil disobedience” in the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, but said he later learned of more serious threats were known to high-ranking U.S. officials ahead of the Capitol breach. He referenced reports that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was using an intelligence platform called Dataminr, and seeing indicators of plans to kill members of Congress leading up to Jan. 6, 2021.

“Gen. Milley’s picking up intelligence talking about killing members of Congress and attacking the United States capital and he’s not telling me, he’s telling select members of Congress,” Mr. Sund said.

In February of 2021, former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving testified that he had been involved in discussions on Jan. 4, 2021, about calling National Guard troops to assist Capitol Police, but that he had opposed the idea. The House Sergeant at Arms works under the direction of the House Speaker.

In his interview with Mr. Carlson Mr. Sund also described placing a call at around 12:58 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, asking Mr. Irving to help him get approval to request National Guard assistance. Mr. Sund said Mr. Irving responded that he would “run it up the chain,” meaning asking for permission from a higher authority. “The chain would be up to Nancy Pelosi,” Mr. Sund added.

Mr. Sund also described asking the Senate Sergeant at Arms for help and making dozens of calls, including 11 follow-up calls, before the approval to request National Guard assistance came through, 71 minutes after his first request.

Mr. Sund said that after Mr. Irving disputed his version of events, he fought to testify on his own behalf before the Senate, but “they didn’t want me to testify.” Mr. Sund also claimed Mr. Thompson told him testimony regarding Ms. Pelosi’s role in Jan. 6 would be “off limits.”

“I’m not, you know, a conspiracy theorist but I could see where people begin to go down that rabbit hole real quick,” Mr. Sund said of his experience with the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

NTD News reached out to Mr. Thompson’s office for comment but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.

From NTD News

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