The lockdown was in response to an alarm from some members of Congress who were worried about large groups of Tritol supporters roaming around the Capitol, scheduled to run until 6 January in the week surrounding the swearing-in for the new Congress. It was a level officials told CNN that officials tightened access to the building in March last year to limit the spread from the coronovirus epidemic, many Democratic lawmakers and allies, because there was no traffic.
A US law enforcement official said investigators are likely to see the possibility that some members of Congress had inadvertently provided tours in the days before the rally, which were later part of the crowd at the Capitol , Which the law enforcement officer said.
The official said that no evidence has so far come to show complicity by members of Congress, but prosecutors are investigating whether some people may have used the tours to familiarize themselves with the Capitol building layout .
A senior Democratic aide told CNN that the ban in the visit was also concerned about who the Republicans might bring that day.
Prior to the epidemic, the Capitol complex had wide public reach, including tunnels connecting member office buildings to the Capitol. Later, Sergeant Arms banned all visits to the Capitol Ground at the onset of the epidemic, but members of Congress were able to ignore the guidance. Lawmakers or staff-led tours are not required to register visitors with the Capitol Police, a law enforcement officer with direct knowledge of CNN’s overall protocol.
The Capitol Police does not keep security logs either, two current US Capitol police officers told CNN.
An official said, “The rules do not apply to members. Never, never will.”
Another officer said, “(Members) can only forgive people. If they do, we are advised to inform the Sergeant-at-Arms.” “We can’t stop them.”
The January 4 letter received by CNN went ahead and banned all visits. It then explicitly wrote by US House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, that the Capitol and the Capitol Visitor Center are “closed to all members, including members, staff-led and public visits” on 6 January.
CNN was only shown part of the letter because the remainder contained sensitive security information about the lawmakers’ movements.
Irving stepped down last week after the riots. CNN has reached out to Irving, caretaker of AIIMS Capital House, US Capitol Police and former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sundar, in response to a January 6 ban on tourism that required no response.
Concern about taking reconnaissance
The existence of previously unknown tension about member-led tourism in the days leading up to 6 January helps explain why some Democrats called for a review of who was brought on the tours immediately after the violence in the Capitol .
Multiple Democratic allies have told CNN that visits were granted in the days leading up to the Capitol attacks, and even some members have confirmed that other jurists were involved in leading them.
Since the riot, Democratic Rep. Mickey Sherrill has accused his Republican colleagues of leading “reconnaissance” missions around the Capitol and joined Arms in a letter sent to the acting House and Senate Sergeant by 30 choruses of his Democratic colleagues. With the acting chief of the Capitol Police.
Sheryl told reporters in Capitol Hill on Wednesday that she changed her findings to “some specialized agencies”. He, nor any of those who signed the letter, have named any specific member.
Democratic rape. Tim Ryan, who is leading the investigation into the attack on the Capitol Police, said on Wednesday that he had heard of members who showed up to rioters around the Capitol on January 5, but verification before placing any names. Wanted to wait for
“I’ve heard a couple, but I’m going to wait to make sure we get verification. I don’t want to throw any members under the bus,” Ryan said. “Now you look at some things and you look at them differently, yes, we’re looking at it.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that allegations from her fellow Democrats would be investigated.
Pelosi said, “If indeed it is found that members of Congress were companions to this rebellion, if they promoted crime and took action against them, action should be taken against Congress.”
A senior Republican aide emphasized allegations that GOP members were particularly responsible for the new guidance from the Arms to Sergeant.
“Capitol tour guidance issued to members and staff has been consistent throughout the year due to the epidemic and members of both parties were sworn in with families in the city,” the aide told CNN. “It is unfortunate that Democrats are intentionally ignoring those facts and not using this time for bipartisan fact-finding.”
However, some Republicans are raising concerns about the activity of their allies for the riots.
In an interview with CBS on Thursday, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans to vote to attack Trump, said it was “certainly possible” that his GOP colleagues gave reconnaissance visits.
“I think it’s definitely possible” Kinzinger said. “I don’t know, but I think it was possible that you know, people were shown around. I hope not.” Kinzinger said that if the reconnaissance mission claims were verified “there should be criminal charges and certainly be expelled from the House of Representatives.”
Rising alarms about ‘stop the steel’
A senior Democratic aide told CNN that the request to ban tourism was for Republican lawmakers willing to bring members of the “Stop the Steel” movement into the building. Thousands of members of the group were to gather outside that day.
The aide said there was widespread concern about member-led visits to security, adding that the issue was raised with the House Sergeant in Arms, Capital Police and House Administration.
“There was communication going on at member and employee levels with related entities, reaching 6th in three days,” the Democratic aide said, noting that “there was a very specific concern around building construction.”
Democratic rape. Mary Gay Schnallon told CNN that she had seen groups of six to eight people in MAGA costumes a day or two before the attack.
“I had seen tour groups of people dressed in sloppy attire, in halls, in tunnels,” Scanlan told CNN.
The Pennsylvania Democrat told CNN, “I can verify that this happened. There were people walking down the hall, apparently under the guidance of congressional staffers.” “We haven’t seen tour groups in the Capitol or in the tunnels for months, and so it’s worth noting.”
A Democratic lawmaker told CNN that this was particularly dangerous at a time when participants in these tours did not have to go through security or be investigated by the Capitol Police before entering the Capitol.
A second Democratic jurist saw a group passing through the Longworth tunnel wearing MAGA hats and no masks the day before the attack.
This member asked a Capitol police officer why they were there, as they were not going to live there. The officer replied that nothing had to be done since he was brought in by an MP from the group. Members were particularly concerned about not wearing the group’s masks and asked to apply their masks to no avail.
Looking back, the jurist wondered if it was wrong to focus on Kovid-19’s performance and instead should raise the big question of whether these visits were preparing for the upcoming attack.
On the morning of January 6, a Democratic lawmaker shared that members of Congress had to use the badge to enter the building with a spouse to show ID. Even though this was a mandate, the source did not know whether every building complied with the new guidance of stringent identification practices.
CNN’s Ryan Nobles, Peter Nikes and Mark Morales contributed to this report.