Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday he plans on releasing thousands of hours of U.S. Capitol riot footage from the surveillance cameras on January 6, 2021.
“We just want to make sure we go through them all, and it takes time,” McCarthy told Breitbart News.
McCarthy told the outlet his intentions during his first exclusive interview since Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired unseen security footage from the Capitol riot. In some of the 44,000 hours of tape, Carlson produced segments showcasing an opposing narrative from legacy media outlets and the now-dissolved House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Carlson and his team received exclusive access to more than 40,000 hours of security camera footage as part of a deal made with McCarthy, who said he opted for the disclosure for the sake of transparency and to counter the “politicization” he believes had been fostered by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the January 6th Committee.
“This is all about transparency,” McCarthy said when asked why he released the tapes.” I think it’s better for transparency that anyone can make their own decision up, and as we walk through these, there are many more hours of tapes than the January 6 committee told us. It’s not 14,000. It’s 42,000 hours.”
McCarthy assured reporters that Capitol Police were part of the process of sharing clips with Carlson’s team and security would be “taken care of.” Still, Capitol Police told The Hill on Monday that the agency requested “that any clips be shown to us first for a security review” but that so far, it had “only been given the ability to preview a single clip out of the multiple clips that aired.”
McCarthy told Breitbart News that Carlson sifted through the footage aired so far to block out potential security risks, such as exit areas. According to the House speaker, Capitol Police reviewed the tapes and addressed one concern, which the team mitigated.
Carlson wouldn’t be the only journalist to gain access to the tapes, McCarthy said.
“Like any news organization, different people get exclusives,” he said, noting that CNN and the January 6 Committee had previously received footage that the public watched “all the time, and nobody complained.”
Democrat Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, who chaired the House January 6 Committee, told The Associated Press that McCarthy’s decision to release the security footage selectively was “a dereliction of duty.”
“The speaker decided it was more important to give in to a Fox host who spews lies and propaganda than to protect the Capitol,” Thompson said in a statement, adding January 6 was “one of the darkest days in the history of our democracy.”
Thompson later confessed the Committee themselves never had access to the footage, and it was only viewable by staff.
“I’m actually not aware of any member of the Committee who had access. We had a team of employees who kind of went through the video,” he said, according to CNN.
In response to Carlson’s expose, Democratic Majority Senator Chuck Schumer called on Fox News to silence Carlson, claiming that he is endangering American safety and those hurt on January 6.
“I urge Fox News to order Carlson to cease propagating the big lie on his network and to level with their viewers about the truth, the truth, behind the efforts to mislead the public. Conduct like theirs is just asking for another January 6 to happen,” Schumer said.
In response to his remarks on the Senate floor, McCarthy told Breitbart News he wished Schumer would read the Constitution.
“The Democrats always go to censorship,” McCarthy said. “You watched what they did with the laptop. You watched what they did with Twitter. They want to use government as much as they can to censor what people can see and what people can know.
“This is the difference between us,” he added. “I believe in the Constitution. I trust the American people, and you should just have the ability to have all the information and let people make their own judgment.”