Democrat lawmakers are apoplectic because House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) provided over 41,000 hours of footage from the Jan. 6 protests at the U.S. Capitol to Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Up until now, most of the footage made available to the American people by Congress was highly curated and framed by the Jan. 6 House select committee, comprising seven Democrats and two Republican who fell out of favor with American voters. Now, perspectives that were possibly omitted or transmogrified by deceptive edits may come to light.
TheBlaze previously reported that producers from Carlson's show came to the Capitol last week to peruse video content from multiple angles taken during the protests in 2021. Clips from the collected footage are expected to start airing on Fox News in the coming weeks.
Carlson, who has accused the Jan. 6 committee of "lying," told Axios, "There was never any legitimate reason for this footage to remain secret," adding, "If there was ever a question that's in the public's interest to know, it's what actually happened on January 6. By definition, this video will reveal it."
While Carlson and Republicans in Congress reckon transparency about a much-discussed and politically weaponized event would be beneficial, Democrats aren't so sure.
Democrat Bennie Thompson (Miss.), former chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, said in a statement, "It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were to be used irresponsibly."
"If Speaker McCarthy has indeed granted Tucker Carlson — a Fox host who routinely spreads misinformation and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s poisonous propaganda — and his producers access to this sensitive footage, he owes the American people an explanation of why he has done so and what steps he has taken to address the significant security concerns at stake," stated Thompson.
Newsweek reported that Democrat lawmakers are upset, in part, because they believe the footage should have been made available to all media and are concerned that the broadcast of footage they haven't curated "would fuel conspiracy theories ahead of the 2024 election."
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the former Jan. 6 committee member who blamed the U.S. Electoral College for the so-called attack on the Capitol, suggested that previously unreleased footage might provide the basis for "MAGA propaganda."
Raskin tweeted Monday, "McCarthy giving 40,000 hrs of Jan. 6 tape to a pro-Putin journalist is an astounding ethical collapse. What security precautions were taken to keep this from becoming a roadmap for 2024 insurrection? Why isn’t it available to all media & public? Smell the MAGA propaganda coming."
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), another Jan. 6 committee member who was recently banned from the House Intelligence Committee for having allegedly "severely undermined its primary national security and oversight missions — ultimately leaving our nation less safe," similarly spoke out.
Schiff tweeted, "Kevin McCarthy turned over Jan 6 videos to right-wing propagandist Tucker Carlson. A man who spews Kremlin talking points. Suggests Jan 6 was a false flag. And spreads the Big Lie. Make no mistake: This isn’t about transparency, it’s about fueling dangerous conspiracy theories."
Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who also served on the Jan. 6 committee and voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, also appeared to be miffed over Carlson's acquisition of the footage, tweeting, "So Kevin McCarthy shared the surveillance footage, not with the rest of congress, investigators, or anyone like that. It was @TuckerCarlson . The 'elisestefanik’ing' of McCarthy has been breathtaking, and not the man I thought i knew before Trump. Lies lies lies."
Axios reported that Tim Mulvey, a former spokesman for the Jan. 6 committee, suggested that Carlson's show may prove risky.
"When the January 6th Select Committee obtained access to U.S. Capitol Police video footage, it was treated with great sensitivity given concerns about the security of lawmakers, staff, and the Capitol complex," Mulvey told Axios.
Mulvey added, "Access was limited to members and a small handful of investigators and senior staff, and the public use of any footage was coordinated in advance with Capitol Police. It's hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were used irresponsibly."
In response to Mulvey's suggestion, itself echoing themes in other Jan. 6 Democrats' reactions, a McCarthy spokesman said, "Unlike the previous Democrat majority, the House Republicans will treat the issue of the security of the Capitol separate from partisan political interests."
Carlson noted on his show this week that some of the footage he has already glimpsed "in some ways" contradicts the narrative packaged by the Jan. 6 committee:
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