Opinion: Loudermilk wins Trump’s seal of approval over Jan. 6

Screenshot of C-SPAN feed as U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, spoke on the House floor during a debate in 2020.

Screenshot of C-SPAN feed as U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, spoke on the House floor during a debate in 2020.

One Georgia Republican in Congress got a grateful shout-out this week from former President Donald Trump, as GOP lawmakers continue to run interference for Trump over the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

After issuing an 81-page report that sought to poke holes in the findings of the special Jan. 6 committee, U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, was praised by Trump for doing ‘fantastic work.’ Trump vowed again to release those convicted of Jan. 6 crimes.

“Free the Jan. 6 Hostages being wrongfully imprisoned!” Trump said.

It was a big week for Loudermilk, who has been trying to undercut the Jan. 6 committee investigation for over a year.

Loudermilk revealed new details that challenged one story relayed by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said Trump lunged at the steering wheel of his SUV, demanding to be taken to the Capitol on Jan. 6. One agent said it didn’t happen, though it was clear Trump wanted to go.

“It is my objective to uncover the facts about Jan. 6, without political bias,” the Georgia Republican declared.

But Loudermilk’s new report didn’t change anything fundamental about that day, and it reads more like a GOP airing of grievances about the Jan. 6 committee, with damning conclusions like, “They refused to adopt rules.”

“The Select Committee was designed to promote a political narrative,” the report alleged.

As you might expect, Democrats saw little of merit.

“Loudermilk is merely trying to deflect from Donald Trump’s responsibility for the violence of Jan. 6th,” said U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, who chaired the Jan. 6 panel.

Behind the scenes, Loudermilk’s staff has been busy trying to release some 40,000 hours of security videos from Jan. 6. Originally, the plan was to blur the faces of the rioters — to keep people from being identified — but that was recently dropped.

Despite claims that the tapes might show something new — they don’t. It’s just more evidence of Trump supporters attacking police officers.

Along the way, Loudermilk has also questioned whether police in Washington, D.C. were even authorized to help defend Congress on Jan. 6. That strikes an odd note because D.C. police helped prevent the Capitol from being overrun.

No matter Loudermilk’s efforts, the Jan. 6 investigation continues. Last month, two Georgia brothers were charged with assaulting police inside the Capitol Rotunda. Each week brings more arrests and more convictions.

Our Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful protest. No one has the right to attack police or disrupt Congress.

And no GOP report — or all-caps post by Donald Trump — can change that.

Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com