WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill, D-NJ, along with 33 other Congress members, have requested an investigation into what they describe as "suspicious behavior" and visitors' access to the Capitol complex a day before the deadly riot.
In a letter to the Acting House and Senate Sergeants at Arms and the United States Capitol Police, the lawmakers claimed they witnessed a "high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, Jan. 5."
The letter explains that this was unusual because the U.S. Capitol has been restricted to the public since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The letter even adds that reports were made to the Sergeant at Arms on January 5 because of its odd nature.
The only way for a visitor to gain access to the U.S. Capitol is from a member of Congress or a member of their staff.
"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," the letter said. "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."
Last week's pro-Trump rally, turned violent siege, was viewed as a free speech event in the days before, despite multiple warnings about the potential for violence from right-wing extremist groups.
Egged on by President Donald Trump and his repeated attempts to delegitimize Biden’s win, the violent mob marched from the White House to the Capitol, where they occupied the building for hours to try to stop lawmakers from certifying Biden's win.
During the riot, five people died, including a police officer. Two explosive devices were also found, but they did not go off.
The lawmakers are asking Capitol security officials to see if the logbooks of the Capitol Complex visitors are available and if any of the individuals recorded on the tour were being investigated for their role in the insurrection the following day.
Read the full letter below:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.