In November, the leader of the incoming House Republican majority, Kevin McCarthy, sent a letter to the Select Committee on Jan. 6 reminding lawmakers they were required to “preserve all records” related to the panel’s work. Nine months later, however, Republicans in charge of investigating the committee’s work say the probe failed to comply with House rules.
GOP Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who became the target of the since-disbanded committee’s salacious attacks last summer, is leading the Republican probe into the Jan. 6 Committee as chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the Committee on House Administration. Loudermilk told Fox News on Tuesday his team has struggled to locate the leftover material required to review the Select Committee’s work under Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. The partisan probe spent 18 months prosecuting political opponents and was complete with Soviet-style show trials presented with fabricated evidence while lawmakers sought to portray the Capitol riot as a “deadly insurrection.”
“Nothing was indexed. There was no table of contents index. Usually when you conduct this level of investigation, you use a database system and everything is digitized, indexed. We got nothing like that,” Loudermilk said. “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.”
The “Blue Team” refers to the investigative staff on the committee in charge of probing the Capitol security failures, all of which point to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After then-Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson aired footage undermining central narratives of the Jan. 6 Committee in March, Chairman Thompson admitted the Select Committee didn’t actually review Capitol surveillance video.
“We’ve got lots of depositions, we’ve got lots of subpoenas, we’ve got video and other documents provided through subpoenas by individuals,” Loudermilk told Fox. “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.”
“What we also realized we didn’t have was the videos of all the depositions,” said the congressman.
Fox News reported on a series of exchanges between Thompson and Loudermilk, the latter of whom was defamed by the committee as giving “reconnaissance” tours of the Capitol on the eve of the riot. The Jan. 6 tapes aired by Carlson, however, show the Georgia Republican was giving a routine tour of the complex to constituents.
Loudermilk told Fox News his committee was only given 2.5 terabytes of data, contrary to Thompson’s initial claim the Select Committee handed over 4. A letter from the former chairman of the Democrats’ probe this summer conceded the Select Committee failed to maintain records that the probe was required to preserve.
“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,” Thompson wrote.
“He’s saying they decided they didn’t have to,” Loudermilk told Fox News. “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.”
McCarthy sent the letter demanding records preservation after reporting from The Washington Post raised concerns that the Select Committee was prepared to omit key details of the investigation.
“It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” McCarthy wrote last fall. “The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts and to be able to view the transcripts with an eye towards encouraged enforcement of 18 USC 1001.”
California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa threatened members who served on the Jan. 6 Committee with censure over the destruction of records.
“The ones that are still in Congress might very well face a censure for what they participated in,” Issa said.