Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11th Dist.), who on Tuesday charged that fellow members of Congress abetted rioters by allowing groups to perform “reconnaissance” of the Capitol ahead of last week’s deadly attack, on Wednesday led more than 30 Democratic lawmakers in demanding an investigation by Capitol Police.
Some rioters appeared to have “an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout,” which they may have gleaned from Capitol tours on Jan. 5, 2021, a day before the attack, Representatives wrote in a letter to the acting chief of the Capitol Police and the acting sergeants-at-arms of the House and Senate.
“Many of the Members who signed this letter, including those of us who have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity, as well as various members of our staff, witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, Jan. 5,” the lawmakers asserted.
“This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March of last year due to the pandemic,” they said.
Sherrill, a Navy veteran, publicly disclosed her concerns via a Facebook presentation to constituents in the 11th District, which includes Morristown and Morris Township.
In that brief video, on the eve of Wednesday’s historic House vote to impeach President Trump for a second time, Sherrill vowed to press for removal of members of Congress who tried to help the president “undermine our democracy.”
Video: Rep. Mikie Sherrill suggests fellow lawmakers enabled mob ‘reconnaisance’ of Capitol ahead of deadly attack:
Five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a New Jersey native, died as a result of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Many others were injured.
Sherrill voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for inciting the mob that disrupted the Congressional vote to certify Joseph Biden’s election as president.
The letter’s 34 signatories included New Jersey Representatives Frank Pallone Jr., Tom Malinowski, Donald Payne Jr., Bill Pascrell Jr., Albio Sires and Josh Gottheimer, all Democrats.
They questioned security procedures, including whether rules governing official visits were enforced; whether visitor logs were properly maintained, and whether they show which lawmakers signed in guests on Jan. 5; whether video logs were kept, and whether facial recognition technology was deployed.
Tours were “so concerning that they were reported to the Sergeant at Arms on Jan. 5,” the letter states.
“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. That group left the White House and marched to the Capitol with the objective of preventing Congress from certifying our election. 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.”
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving resigned after the attack.
They were replaced by Yogananda Pittman, Jennifer A. Hemmingway and Timothy Blodgett, respectively, serving in acting roles.
As more stories emerge of police heroism that saved lives during the attack, three Capitol police officers are suspended and at least 17 more are under investigation for their behavior during the riot, according to news reports.
The FBI has warned that armed protests are being planned in all 50 state capitols in the days leading to Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. More than 20,000 National Guard members will help secure Washington DC, the city’s police chief said. That exceeds the combined number of troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
President Trump, who has been banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, issued a statement Wednesday urging calm.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”