Videotapes of witness interviews that the Democrat-led Jan. 6 congressional committee conducted have vanished, raising concerns for the chairman of the successor House panel that is now examining security failures related to the Capitol riot as well as possible implications for upcoming criminal trials.
“All of the videotapes of all depositions are gone,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., chairman of the House Administration oversight subcommittee, told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show Thursday night.
Loudermilk said he believes under the House rules the videotapes qualified as congressional evidence because some clips were aired at hearings, and all the tapes should have been preserved by the now-defunct J6 committee and its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
Thompson did not return a request for comment from Just the News left with his office.
“We found out about this early in the investigation when I received a call from someone who was looking for some information off one of the videotapes, and we started searching, and we had none,” Loudermilk explained. “I wrote a letter to Bennie Thompson asking for them. And he confirmed that they did not preserve those types. He didn’t feel that they had to.
“But according to House rules, you have to preserve any data and information and documents that are used in an official proceeding, which they did, They (J6 Democrats) actually aired portions of these tapes on their televised hearings, which means they had to keep those. But yet he chose not to, I believe they exist somewhere. We’ve just got to find where all these videos are.”
The revelation also could have implications for criminal trials being conducted in state court in Georgia and federal court in Washington where former President Donald Trump and allies are charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021 events. Trump’s legal team recently was turned down by a judge when he requested certain evidence from the Jan. 6 committee.
Loudermilk also revealed another tantalizing twist in the J6 committee evidence: the Democrat-led House committee sent certain evidence such as transcripts to the Biden White House and Homeland Security Department and now the transcripts have been returned to Loudermilk’s GOP-led subcommittee nearly fully redacted so their contents can’t be read.
House Republicans have no records of who the witnesses were, what they said, or why it is being used by the federal prosecutor in their case against Trump, Loudermilk said.
The documents “belong to the House. They should have never been sent. And second of all, do not send them back to me this heavily redacted. Those are our documents,” the chairman said. “But my question is, why was it okay for a Democrat-run House of Representatives to have unredacted documents but not when there’s a Republican committee that’s looking into this. What is it that the committee and or the White House is trying to hide?”