House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reportedly gave 41,000 hours of exclusive U.S. Capitol surveillance footage from the January 6 riot to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who could begin airing the highly anticipated release on his programs in the coming weeks.
According to an Axios report, sources claim that TV producers for Carlson began sifting through the footage last week on Capitol Hill.
“[T]here was never any legitimate reason for this footage to remain secret,” Carlson told Axios. “If there was ever a question that’s in the public’s interest to know, it’s what actually happened on January 6.”
On January 6, 2021, a crowd entered the U.S. Capitol, disrupting lawmakers meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Previous reports said that cameras in and around the Capitol captured more than 14,000 hours of footage between noon and 8 p.m. that day, according to the Capitol Police. However, Axios reported nearly 30,000 more hours of footage exist.
“By definition, this video will reveal it,” Carlson said. “It’s impossible for me to understand why any honest person would be bothered by that.”
Though congressional committees controlled by Democrats, law enforcement, and others were given access to the archive, Capitol Police had warned that attorneys for January 6 defendants should not be given the footage without “safeguards in place to prevent its copy and dissemination,” which alarmed government officials to raise national security concerns.
After a year and a half of investigations and hearings featuring some security video clips, the January 6 Committee released its final report last month, recommended charges against former President Donald Trump, and began releasing dozens of witness materials. McCarthy was one of several House Republicans the January 6 Committee recommended for ethics sanctions after defying its subpoenas.
McCarthy said last month he would push for the disclosure of unreleased U.S. Capitol security footage from that infamous day.
The House speaker told reporters the American public “should see” what happened while taking a shot at the January 6 Committee’s final report that he said was “written for a political basis.”
“We’re looking through that,” McCarthy said. “I want to be very thoughtful about it. But yes, I’m engaged to do that.”
House Republicans Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) independently published a 141-page investigative report last month outlining what they describe as House Democratic leadership and Capitol authorities’ failures that left the complex vulnerable.
Banks, the leader of the effort, said the report “exposes the partisanship, incompetence, and indifference that led to the disaster on January 6 and it the leading role Speaker Pelosi and her office played in the security failure at the Capitol.”
Carlson has long pushed for the release of the footage, arguing that Washington, D.C., has “a regime of secrecy and deceit” and the Capitol riot itself was an “outbreak of mob violence, a forgettably minor outbreak by recent standards.”
Daniel Chaitin contributed to this report.