House Republicans are stopping the release of the surveillance video from January 6 that they had offered to Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and are attacking Democrats who have been criticizing the action for the previous week. Republicans are stressing that no clips would be shown without prior security clearance, but Democrats are being accused of disregarding the same safety measures during the House Select Committee’s probe last year. The Democrats swiftly denied the allegations.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered him what Carlson described as “unfettered” exclusive access to more than 40,000 hours of unreleased surveillance tape starting earlier this month, Carlson, Fox’s wildly popular conservative pundit, announced last week that he would start airing footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot this week.
In spite of this, McCarthy and other Republicans made it plain on Tuesday that no details would be provided to Carlson’s team or made public before the footage is evaluated to make sure the security of the Capitol complex is not jeopardized. Republicans are collaborating with the U.S. Capitol Police, according to the Speaker, to make sure that’s the case.
“There are far more tape hours than we were ever informed. They claimed that it took almost 14,000 hours to get started. There have been nearly 42,000 hours. We are resolving that. McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol, “We work with the Capitol Police as well, so we’ll make sure security is taken care of.
McCarthy said of Carlson, “There’s some areas he wanted to view,” but emphasized that the Fox News host’s team has made it clear they do not want to see “exit ways.” They aren’t concerned about it. They don’t want to display that, according to McCarthy.
McCarthy’s remark was a jab at the select committee for airing video of then-Vice President Mike Pence leaving the Senate chamber after rioters stormed the Capitol in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s election victory. The incident occurred on January 6, and the select committee had aired the video.
Members of the investigating committee claimed that they went to great lengths to obtain approval from Capitol Police leaders before airing each video clip, despite the fact that the film did not show Pence’s whole path out of the Capitol.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the since-disbanded Jan. 6 committee, told reporters on Tuesday, “What we showed to the public was video that we screened via general counsel and we vetted through the chief of the Capitol Police.” And under no circumstances did we remove anything that we believed would have compromised this area’s security.
McCarthy, however, questioned the Democrats’ story, claiming that the Capitol Police had told him personally that not all of the select committee video from January 6 had been viewed. McCarthy said: “That’s a problem because there have been instances when the Capitol Police have told me that they didn’t check with them either on some of these routes.
Although McCarthy stated that he would not “predetermine” the format of such a release, he anticipates that the surveillance footage will be widely shared “as soon as feasible.”
McCarthy admitted he hasn’t spoken to Carlson directly about the Jan. 6 video. McCarthy also chastised the select committee for airing footage of his employees being ejected from his office wing on January 6.
Because our office has a camera, “they went in and showed our office. They never spoke to any of us about it, according to McCarthy, who refused to cooperate with the select committee on January 6 when it subpoenaed him to testify.
The tape from the Jan. 6 select committee was also a source of concern for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La. ), who pointed out that then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) daughter had been recording a documentary in a safe house where congressional leaders were being held during the incident.
However, Democrats are also making accusations and expressing their own skepticism that Republicans are implementing strict security measures as they show Carlson the video. Carlson has downplayed the violence on January 6 and promoted conspiracies about the riot being organized by Trump’s political rivals.
Thompson claimed that despite requests, his office has not yet received specific instructions on how the numerous hours of footage will be distributed and used.
If they don’t have anything in writing, Thompson remarked, “I say it’s a horrible idea.”
The chairman of the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), stated that his committee is still reviewing these processes. We’re putting together protocols, policies, procedures, and timelines, according to Loudermilk.
While the tens of thousands of hours of tape are available for Carlson’s team to view, Loudermilk said he will work with Capitol Police and the sergeant-at-arms to make sure that any copies handed to Carlson do not pose security issues.
Loudermilk claimed that no tapes had been released. “Viewing cassettes basically requires limited access. You are unable to record or take anything with you. They can then ask for any specific clips they might need, and we’ll check to make sure there aren’t any sensitive or classified material or escape routes.
The intense discussion over Carlson’s unprecedented access to the complete Jan. 6 footage and the propriety of releasing it comes as McCarthy struggles to win over Republicans concerned that the new Speaker has the conservative credentials necessary to challenge Biden and the Washington “swamp.”
Several of these detractors claimed that McCarthy had promised to disclose the entire library of the Jan. 6 tape in exchange for their support during the contentious Speaker’s election voting. McCarthy should promise to make the tapes public in order to win support for the Speakership, Carlson himself said.
On Tuesday, McCarthy refuted that assertion. Although while he has claimed in prior remarks in a fundraising email that he “promised” to share the footage, he clarified that this was in response to a question during a news conference last month, not because of discussions during the Speaker’s election.
He stated on Tuesday, “I’m just carrying that out.”
Uncertainty surrounds whether McCarthy’s most vociferous Republican critics, whose support he needs to advance legislation in a closely split House, will consent to a more constrained publication of the video.
The most seen analyst on Fox, Carlson, has been one of McCarthy’s most vocal, if not consistent, right-wing detractors. Additionally, McCarthy’s choice to release the footage from January 6 just with Carlson has sparked charges that the Speaker is merely pandering to the popular presenter in an effort to save his own political skin.
“The Speaker claims that this is about openness and public accountability. Yet, the fact that he awarded it to one extreme media figure completely refutes that, according to Democratic whip Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.).
This week, Carlson’s selection has come under more criticism as a result of information that was made public as part of a defamation lawsuit against Fox News, according to which he was one of the network pundits incensed that Fox had properly predicted Arizona for Biden. At the time, Carlson expressed worry that the truthful reporting would sway Fox viewers to other conservative publications, which continued to publish Trump’s false claims about a rigged election.
On Tuesday, McCarthy defended the selection of Carlson and claimed that the select committee from January 6 had given surveillance footage to media sites liked by leftist viewers, including CNN and MSNBC.
Do you have any exclusives? I constantly see it on your networks,” McCarthy said to a group of reporters that included CNN and MSNBC correspondents.
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