House Democrats plan to meet and discuss Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) giving Fox News host Tucker Carlson access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the January 6, 2021.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) sent a letter to Democratic colleagues on Tuesday saying his team is “working to confirm the precise nature of the video transfer,” which he called a “reported breach” that poses potential national security risks.
When House Democrats hold a virtual caucus meeting set for Wednesday afternoon, Jeffries said members will hear presentations from House Administration Committee ranking member Joe Morelle (D-NY) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who was chairman of the now-defunct January 6 Committee.
Hakeem Jeffries writes in a Dear Colleague to Dems: "The apparent transfer of video footage represents an egregious security breach that endangers the hardworking women and men of the United States Capitol Police, who valiantly defended our democracy with their lives at risk" https://t.co/HGXeQN1TBq pic.twitter.com/iHWA28jjKs
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) February 21, 2023
Axios first reported on Monday that McCarthy shared with Carlson 41,000 hours of surveillance footage from the day a crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol, disrupting lawmakers who were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
Carlson later said on his show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” that his team has been granted what they believe to be “unfettered” access to the tapes, and he plans to start sharing what they have found next week.
“Some of our smartest producers have been there looking at this stuff, trying to figure out what it means and how it contradicts, or not, the story that we’ve been told for more than two years,” Carlson said. “We think already that in some ways it does contradict that story.”
Tucker Carlson Announces That His Show Has Been Granted Access To 44k Hours Of Footage From January 6th
"We believe that access is unfettered. We believe we have secured the right to see whatever we want to see."
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) February 21, 2023
McCarthy has not yet commented publicly on the situation, but a Fox News spokesperson told The Daily Wire that the report from Axios was accurate.
The speaker said last month he was looking to release the tapes because of the “politicization” he believed had been fostered by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the January 6 Committee, which focused heavily on former President Donald Trump in its final report.
During its slate of hearings last summer, the January 6 Committee aired clips of security footage, including one showing Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) running though a Capitol hallway on January 6.
In his letter, Jeffries argued the panel followed “numerous protocols” in viewing the security footage, and stated there is “no indication the same precautionary measures” had been taken by McCarthy and Carlson.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger confirmed security footage had been given to McCarthy, according to CNN. “When congressional leadership or congressional oversight committees ask for things like this, we must give it to them,” Manger said.
Jeffries, Thompson, and other Democrats have already begun to raise concerns about Carlson obtaining the video by claiming he is a purveyor of misinformation that fuels Russian propaganda.
The Capitol Police and federal prosecutors involved in January 6 cases have argued in favor of keeping much of the surveillance footage hidden from the public over concerns about security. Still, some Republicans have been cheering on the release of the tapes.
“For all of you that doubted we would release the tapes. Here you go! I’m very happy to be right again in my support for Kevin McCarthy as our Speaker,” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). “Americans deserve to see the truth, not a one sided narrative and unfair two tiered justice system.”