Congresswoman Accused Of Touring ‘Large Group’ Around US Capitol Days Before Riot
Republican Representative Lauren Boebert has been accused of leading a group of visitors through the Capitol building, after Democrats suggested tours gave potential rioters the lay of the land.
As the ‘meeting place of the nation’s legislature’, the Capitol building is a major tourist attraction in Washington DC, welcoming millions of people each year.
Visitors can usually book tours in advance or obtain a same-day pass that allows them access to the Crypt, the Rotunda and National Statuary Hall, with the choice to be led by a tour guide or seek one of the staff-led tours offered by many congressional offices to constituent groups.
Tours of the Capitol were banned at the start of the pandemic, though members of Congress were able to ignore the guidance.
In the days leading up to the January 6 insurrection, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen, of Tennessee, claims to have seen Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, of Colorado, giving one of these tours and leading a group of people through the Cannon House Office Building tunnel.
While the tour itself is not out of the ordinary, the timing of it is noteworthy, as Democrats have alleged that lawmakers led ‘an extremely high number of outside groups’ through the building before the Capitol was infiltrated.
Democrats suggest these could have been ‘reconnaissance’ tours, allowing people who planned to storm the building to become familiar with their surroundings and prepare their plan of action.
Speaking to Jim Sciutto on CNN Newsroom, Cohen said that Congressman John Yarmuth had ‘refreshed [his] recollection’ about seeing Boebert taking a group of people for a tour ‘sometime after the 3rd and before the 6th’.
I don’t remember the day we were walking in a tunnel and we saw her and commented who she was and she had a large group with her. Now whether these people were people that were involved in the insurrection or not, I do not know.
She was a freshman, she might have had a large number of people coming to be with her on this historic occasion and just wanting to give them the opportunity to have a tour. But it is pretty clear that her team is the team – she’s not on the home team. She was with the visitors.
Boebert responded to the allegations in a letter to Cohen, arguing his comments ‘repeat irresponsible lies in order to elevate his own political relevance and to further fuel the division of our country’. The Republican stated that Cohen’s ‘claims and implications are categorically false’ and that she has ‘never given a tour of the US Capitol to any outside group’.
She went on to clarify that she brought her family to the Capitol for a tour on January 2 and to commemorate the day she became a member of Congress on January 3, writing, ‘Again, the only people I have ever had in the Capitol with me during the 117th Congress are my young children, husband, mom, aunt and uncle.’
Cohen has not reported his observation to the FBI or Capitol Police.
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