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Tim Ryan: Prosecutors reviewing video of Capitol tours given by lawmakers before riot

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) on Thursday said federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., are “reviewing the footage” to see if members of Congress gave Capitol tours to rioters shortly before the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.

Ryan, chairman of the House subcommittee with oversight of the Capitol Police, told reporters that accusations surrounding lawmakers allegedly giving “reconnaissance tours” to rioters before the attack are now “in the hands of the U.S. attorney here in D.C.”

The Hill has reached out to Justice Department for comment.

Ryan told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow later that evening that he could not elaborate on the investigation.

“The U.S. attorney has the investigation going on now. I’m sure they’re looking at the footage … so that’s in their hands now,” Ryan said. “Anybody who’s dealt with the U.S. attorney during an investigation — it’s like a black box, you don’t really know what’s going on but you know it’s happening.”

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), a former Navy pilot, said in the aftermath of the riot that she had witnessed colleagues leading people on tours of the Capitol in the days leading up to the attack, calling the walkthroughs “reconnaissance” for the siege.

Sherrill is not alone in her concerns about security at the Capitol complex in the lead-up to the assault.

A coalition of more than 30 House Democrats has called for an investigation into “suspicious” tours, saying either they or their aides witnessed “an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex, on Jan. 5, which is unusual given that public tours of the Capitol ended in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

They also wrote that some of the visitors encountered by lawmakers “appeared to be associated” with the “Stop the Steal” rally that was held at the White House Ellipse the next day, when Congress was certifying President Biden’s election victory over former President Trump.

“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 lawmakers wrote.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said that he and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) saw first-term Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) giving a tour sometime between Jan. 3 and Jan. 6.

Boebert responded to Cohen’s accusation on Twitter, saying she hasn’t given a Capitol tour to anyone besides family members who were in town for her swearing-in ceremony a few days earlier.

“I guess having a big family is a scandal now,” she wrote. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested that any lawmakers who are found to have assisted in the attack may be criminally charged.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said Thursday that security will remain tight because of intelligence that some militia groups that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 have threatened to “blow up” the complex when Biden delivers his State of the Union joint address to Congress. No date has been set for Biden to address Congress.

Tags Biden Capitol breach Capitol riot Donald Trump insurrection Joe Biden John Yarmuth Lauren Boebert Mikie Sherrill Nancy Pelosi Rachel Maddow Steve Cohen Tim Ryan Tim Ryan tours United States Capitol Police
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