If the Capitol Is Closed to the Public, Why Did Some Republican Congress Members Give Tours the Day Before Insurrection?

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
·2 min read
Terrorists breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification.
Terrorists breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification.

It’s been a week since a violent group of terrorists stormed the Capitol looking to overthrow democracy and Democrats have questions, a lot of questions.

According to Roll Call, Rep. Mikie Sherrill and 33 other House members want an investigation into tours provided by fellow House lawmakers inside the Capitol on Jan. 5, just one day before the attempted coup by Trump rioters.

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Sherrill, a New Jersey Democrat, believes that Congress members may have played a role in aiding the insurrections, allowing them to gather a layout of the building just a day before the vigilanties stormed the grounds.

“The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter asking that the “acting House sergeant-at-arms, acting Senate sergeant-at-arms, and United States Capitol Police to investigate “suspicious behavior” on Jan. 5 and changes to visitor access,” Roll Call reports.

The lawmakers say that they 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,” the Hill reports.

“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 write.

“Given the events of January 6, the ties between these groups inside the Capitol Complex and the attacks on the Capitol need to be investigated,” they added.

During a Facebook livestream, Tuesday, Sherrill believes that the tours were a “reconnaissance” mission to gain intel on the Capitol and where offices are located.

She said she intends “to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 — a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress,” the Hill reports.

Sherrill isn’t the only one who thinks this could’ve been an inside job, Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s (D-Mass.) chief of staff Sarah Groh told the Boston Globe, Wednesday, that all the panic buttons in Pressley’s office were removed before the attack.

“Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit,” Groh said, explaining that she was sure the button was there because she used it before. Groh said that she had no idea why the button had been removed from the office, but I think there might be a few Republican Congress members who could explain it.