Congresswoman alleges lawmakers gave ‘reconnaissance’ tours to Capitol mob

Louise Hall
<p>Mikie Sherrill made the claims during a Facebook live video on Tuesday</p> (Facebook/ Mikie Sherrill)

Mikie Sherrill made the claims during a Facebook live video on Tuesday

(Facebook/ Mikie Sherrill)

A New Jersey congresswoman has alleged that certain unnamed lawmakers aided pro-Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol by providing “reconnaissance” tours to members of the mob ahead of 6 January.

Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill made the claims during a Facebook live video on Tuesday during which she expressed intention to hold president Donald Trump to account for the riot.

During the video Rep Sherrill alleged that she witnessed “members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on 5 January– a reconnaissance for the next day.”

Rep Sherrill said she intended to “see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material.”

However, she also expressed that she would work to see “those members of Congress who abetted him” were held to account and “if necessary, ensure that they don't serve in Congress.”

The representative did not identify any specific lawmakers or provide evidence that the tours took place, whether those who attended were Trump supporters or say how she came to classify them as a reconnaissance.

She also did not explain how the alleged tours were connected to the riots that occurred at the Capitol the following day.

During the riot last week, pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol as lawmakers were gathered to certify Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election, and lawmakers were forced to evacuate.

The mob, who were demanding that the election result be overturned, vandalised Capitol property and looted the building, smashing windows and ransacking offices.

Five people died as a result of the violence, including one Capitol Police officer who was beaten as he tried to ward off the crowds.

Rep Sherrill is not the first lawmaker to have suggested that certain people inside the Capitol may have been complicit in inciting or abetting the siege.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn said on Friday that someone on the inside of the Capitol was "complicit" in the assault, telling CBS News that he believed “that something was going on.”

“They knew where to go. Yes, somebody on the inside of those buildings were complicit in this,” he said.

Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez said on Tuesday that she “did not even feel safe" going to extraction point as she feared certain members may disclose her location and “allow” her to be “hurt” or “kidnapped," adding that she thought some police were aiding rioters.

“And to run in the Capitol, in our nation's capital, and not know if an officer is there to help you or to harm you - it's also quite traumatising," she said.

Democrats will move forward with the impeachment of Mr Trump on Wednesday as the house considers an article of impeachment that accuses him of “incitement to insurrection.”

Many accuse Mr Trump of encouraging rioters after they turned on the building following a Save America rally during which the president encouraged supporters to march on the Capitol.

“And we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Mr Trump said during the speech.

“Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

The president has since condemned the violence that took place at the Capitol but has also denied responsibility for his supporters’ actions saying that his speech was “appropriate."

Acting Washington, DC, US Attorney Michael Sherwin has said that the FBI is undertaking an “unprecedented” investigation into the assault on the Capitol.

"I think people are going to be shocked with some of the egregious contact that happened within the Capitol," Mr Sherwin said.

Additional reporting from agencies

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