Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the Committee on House Administration, is heading a GOP effort to audit the January 6 committee’s findings but says his probe has been hampered because of a lack of documentation, according to Fox News. Numerous documents and recordings, as well as the January 6 committee’s communications with the White House, appear to be missing from the stores of information and data left for Loudermilk to sort through.
“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,” Loudermilk told Fox News, referencing a subgroup on the January 6 committee tasked with probing security failures. “We’ve got lots of depositions, we’ve got lots of subpoenas, we’ve got video and other documents provided through subpoenas by individuals. But we’re not seeing anything from the Blue Team as far as reports on the investigation they did looking into the actual breach itself.”
Loudermilk said, based on people he spoke with, the select committee on January 6 intentionally did not investigate security failures that contributed to the riot in order to focus blame on former President Donald Trump. Former January 6 committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said last month that he believes his committee’s work “put significant pressure” on the Department of Justice to indict Trump over January 6.
“I think up until that point of the hearings, it could have gone either way. But I think the compelling argument that we made as a committee for millions of Americans as to how close we came to losing our democracy, [the Justice Department] really didn’t … have a choice,” Thompson said. “And when the special prosecutor was put forth, I think we helped make his case.”
The gaps in the January 6 committee records came to light after defense attorneys representing clients charged over the riot began requesting documents and other evidence from Loudermilk for their cases. The congressman said some of what he was asked for, he did not have.
Loudermilk relayed his concerns to Thompson, who said that his committee turned over all that was required of it, totaling four terabytes of information. Loudermilk contested that claim, saying he had only received 2.5 terabytes of data. He also said that Thompson’s committee violated federal law and admitted as much in a footnote of a letter Thompson sent Loudermilk on July 7. Thompson has denied the accusation.
The footnote said in part: “Consistent with guidance from the Office of the Clerk and other authorities, the Select Committee did not archive temporary committee records that were not elevated by the Committee’s actions, such as use in hearings or official publications, or those that did not further its investigative activities. Accordingly, and contrary to your letter’s implication, the Select Committee was not obligated to archive all video recordings of transcribed interviews or depositions.”
Loudermilk told Fox News: “It was clear in law they had to especially and, I mean if there was any question, the fact that they used the videos in the hearings would dictate that it had to be preserved. The more we go in the more we’re realizing that there’s things that we don’t have. We don’t have anything about security failures at the Capitol, we don’t have the videos of the depositions.”
The Georgia Republican also discovered that missing from the January 6 files are an unknown number of communications sent between the committee and the White House. Loudermilk made the discovery when he obtained a letter sent from Thompson to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that was not included in the committee’s files.
“No version of the letter to Mr. Sauber — either redacted or unredacted — or the letter to the DHS General Counsel was archived by the Select Committee or provided to this Committee,” Loudermilk wrote in a letter to Thompson.
The January 6 committee was largely a Democratic effort, except for former Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who joined the committee after Republican leader Kevin McCarthy refused to countenance the committee over restrictions on which Republicans could join.