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, January 5. This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March due to the pandemic. We found these tours so concerning that senior staff questioned the SAA [Sergeant at Arms] on January 5 about what was taking place.Mary Jo Scanlon, a representative from Pennsylvania and one of the co-signers of the letter, also witnessed the tours given to people wearing pro-Trump clothing. One group consisted of six to eight people.
I had seen what appeared to be tour groups of folks dressed in MAGA attire, in the halls, in the tunnels. . . . . It was just surprising to see that happen because since Covid the building's been shut down. There aren't supposed to be any tours. So I kind of assumed it must be a new member who didn't know the rules or something. But, I mean, I can verify that it happened. There were people who were roaming around in the halls, apparently under the guidance of congressional staff.
The letter notes that groups "could only have gained access to the Capitol complex from a member of Congress or a member of their staff".
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (New York) confirmed that some insurrectionists were given a tour the day before they attacked the Capitol. Maloney said a male representative witnessed the tours:
He described it with some alarm. There are some of our new colleagues, the same one, of course, who believe in conspiracy theories and who want to carry guns into the House chamber, who today – today – have been yelling at Capitol Police. I saw it earlier, when I went to vote – shoving Capitol Police, who a week ago were risking their lives to save ours. This conduct is beyond the pale. And it extends to this interaction with the very people who attacked the Capitol. That is why making sure every member of Congress goes through a metal detector, which has never happened before, is so important for the security of the Inauguration and our proceedings. It's a sad reality that we find ourselves at a place where the enemy is within and we cannot trust our own colleagues.
Maloney did not disclose the name of the person who gave the tour, but said: "I think you'll find that's going to be a real story." Maloney appeared to reveal-without-saying that it was Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colorado), who supports QAnon and threw a tantrum about bringing her firearm into the Impeachment proceedings.
A possible photo of the tour (including Boebert) was circulating today, but it is a photo from July 2020. I have no doubt security footage exists, so it's only a matter of time before we know for sure.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) stated recently that she feared for her life last Wednesday during the attack. In an hour-long Instagram Live video, she spoke about "a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die. I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive." She could not discuss specifics because of security reasons.
She also said she did not feel safe among other members of Congress and did not go with others to a protected "extraction point". She said:
There were QAnon and white-supremacist sympathizers and, frankly, white-supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point who I know and who I have felt would disclose my location and would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc. So I didn't even feel safe around other members of Congress.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) also had similar reservations about the sheltering plan.
The second I realized our 'safe room' from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited.
At least two Democrats have tested positive for the coronavirus after sharing a safe room with Republicans who both refused to wear masks and ridiculed members who were wearing them. Boebert, whose days in government may be seriously numbered, is also being criticized for tweeting twice during the siege about the movements of Nancy Pelosi, who was high on the terrorists' list of people to murder.
The panic buttons installed in Pressley's congressional office had been removed prior to the attack. Last Wednesday, Pressley, along with Sarah Groh, her chief of staff, and Groh's husband, were barricading themselves in the office when they discovered every panic button had been torn out. Groh said the buttons had been used in the past. Security was heightened in 2019 after Donald Trump posted a series of racist tweets about a group of female Congresswomen known as The Squad.
AOC, also a member of The Squad, tweeted: "Even if one assumes this as some totally innocent oversight, how does the department responsible remove ALL the panic buttons from a highly visible member's office and NOT inform that member or their staff?"
Two Virginia police officers (Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson) have been arrested and charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds after they took part in last week's terrorist attack and then boasted about it on Facebook. (That link includes reports on police officers from around the country being investigated for being at the attack. The most-popular excuse seems to be that they left before things got violent.) Robertson is an Army veteran and a trained sniper. He posted he was "fucking proud" and "CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem . . . The right IN ONE DAY took the fucking U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us."
Trump thinks everyone is as stupid as he is. In a new five-minute video, Trump says the Capitol rioters were not his "true" supporters and he was "shocked" by the violence. "Mob violence goes against everything I believe in."