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Matt Gaetz Vows to Release Unredacted Insurrection Footage at Jan. 6 Vigil

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy released over 40,000 hours of unseen footage from the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this year. Now, pressure is mounting on McCarthy over the Jan. 6 tapes because he gave Carlson access to the footage earlier this year.

McCarthy promised to give the public and media access to the tapes after his team reviewed all of the footage to address any potential security concerns.

“This is the challenge. The Democrats told us it was only 14,000 hours of tapes, lo and behold, we take the majority and it’s 42,000 hours, so that would take me years to go all the way through. Yeah, I think the public should see what’s happened to them. We’ve worked with the Capitol Police [to] tell us about [any] section that there was a problem. And that takes a long time. But we want to make sure everybody has the opportunity to come and see what they want,” McCarthy said. “So we’ve created the process to make that start happening.”

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is now upping the ante and vowed to compel McCarthy to release unredacted tapes from the Capitol insurrection.

Before a crowd outside the DC Central Detention Facility, Gaetz expressed regret for the inmates “having to endure this two-tiered justice system.”

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After taking a shot at McCarthy, he argued that it is “critically important” for the full, unredacted security tapes to be made public.

“I think that is dishonest, particularly to people who have borne the brunt of this two-tiered justice system. And I just wanted to come down here to say from my heart how much I appreciate those who are holding vigil and that I am committing to you directly that I am going to work to get these J6 tapes released if Kevin McCarthy wants to keep his job,” Gaetz said.

Since January, Gaetz has been advocating for the release of the tapes on the grounds that they contain “exculpatory evidence” that should be considered in the appeals of the convictions and sentences in question.

Earlier this month, Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican who appeared on the podcast “The Benny Show,” recently demanded the release of the footage.

“I’m one of the ones pushing for the release, by the way, of all the J6 video,” Higgins said. “We got 60,000 hours of video from Jan. 4, 5, and 6 — I want it all released to the American people so that we can crowdsource that investigation.”

Now, months after McCarthy’s promise, several mainstream media outlets are turning up the heat on McCarthy to get access to the footage.

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“Nine major media organizations have sued the Justice Department and the FBI for access to the video footage of the Jan. 6 insurrection. The nine include The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, and ProPublica. Public materials must be truly public. If Mr. McCarthy can give the stash to one talk show host, he can, and should, give it to every media organization and the public at large,” The Post-Gazette reported.

“That’s why the speaker must release the material to everyone. Everyone must have the chance to watch it and decide the narrative, and the more narratives we have, the better chance the public has of knowing what happened,” the outlet added.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is also calling for McCarthy to “get any January 6, 2020, Capitol riot footage back from Carlson” and wants the footage released to the media to share.

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Co-host Mika Brzezinski said, “I think the question about the January 6 tapes is a really big one. What exactly happens to those? Do they stay in his possession?”

Scarborough said, “It just shows how ridiculously, outrageously irresponsible of Kevin McCarthy to send security tapes to a conspiracy theorist. Again, just mind-bending, that he sends this information to somebody who is supporting an insurrection against the United States of America and provides security tapes. That’s what any insurrectionist, future insurrectionist, would want to see. It is really it’s frightening. Kevin McCarthy needs to get the tapes back. And he needs to get lawyers to have documents signed that they’re not going to be used anywhere else in the future, or any of its contents revealed.”

Brzezinski said, “I wonder why only Kevin McCarthy has a say over those security tapes?”

Scarborough said, “It is really shocking. It puts the Capitol Hill police in danger. It puts members of Congress in danger. It puts everybody who works at the United States Capitol in danger, but he did it. Like you said, where are the tapes now?”

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