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 has promised to give the public and media access to the tapes after his team reviews 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.”
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.
“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.
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?”
Last month, House Republicans announced they are launching their own version of a Jan. 6 committee that will “reinvestigate” what happened at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.
Georgia Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk will chair the new panel and says they will “investigate both sides” and “show what really happened on Jan. 6.”
Loudermilk also declared that the panel would consider seeking an interview with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including any decisions made about Capitol security ahead of Jan. 6, CBS News reported.
House Republicans issued a scathing report exposing Pelosi for her role in security and intelligence failures at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Emails and text messages from Pelosi’s office reveal her staff held regular meetings discussing security detail, helped edit authorities’ plans, and turned down several requests from federal law enforcement needed to protect the Capitol on that day.