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McCarthy defends giving Tucker Carlson access to the treasures on January 6 Story-level




WASHINGTON– House Speaker Kevin McCarthy defends his decision to give Fox News’ Tucker Carlson “exclusive” access to security footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, despite the conservative commentator himself features false claims and conspiracy theories about the 2021 riots over the election of Joe Biden. .

McCarthy vowed Tuesday that he will finally make approximately 42,000 hours of confidential Capitol Police security video available to the general public “as soon as possible,” but made it clear that the Fox News commentator was the first to do so. Republican McCarthy also supports giving access to some of the nearly 1,000 defendants who are on trial for their role in the siege.

Five people were killed in the January 6, 2021 attack and its aftermath after then-President Donald Trump encouraged a crowd of supporters to “fight like hell” as Congress tallied the state election results.

“I don’t care which side of the issue you’re on. That’s why I think by exposing it all to the American public, you can see the truth. See exactly what happened that day,” McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“Have you ever had an exclusive? Because I see it on their networks all the time. So we have exclusives, then I’ll give them to the whole country,” McCarthy said.

The speaker’s decision to release the mountains of police security footage has unleashed a firestorm on Capitol Hill over how the footage will potentially be used as a political tool to rewrite history of what happened on that deadly day. Fox News is facing fresh scrutiny in a separate court case for broadcasting false claims about the 2020 election that Trump lost to Biden.

It is also raising new concerns about sensitive security operations on Capitol Hill. While video of the January 6 riots has already been widely broadcast as part of last summer’s public hearings by the House committee investigating the attack, including from police cameras, documentaries like La hija de la Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who filmed secret locations and even the rioters themselves: McCarthy is making available nearly 42,000 hours of footage, three times what was first seen, from cameras located in every corner of the House complex. Capitol.

“We are deeply concerned that the release of images related to the violent insurrection on January 6 reveals some security details that could create some challenges in terms of the safety and well-being of everyone in the Capitol Complex,” the minority leader said. Hakeem Jeffries, D.N. .AND.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, former chairman of the House Jan. 6 committee, said the panel went through a painstaking process to work closely with the US Capitol Police to review and ultimately release approved segments of surveillance footage as part of its public hearings.

“I support a process, if this is true transparency, that would not compromise the integrity or the security of the Capitol,” the Mississippi Democrat said.

When McCarthy told his fellow Republicans behind closed doors about his decision Tuesday, he was greeted with applause, according to a person familiar with the private conference meeting but not authorized to speak about it publicly.

The speaker has had a rocky relationship with Carlson, who has been critical of McCarthy’s leadership, but the influential Fox News commentator eventually backed out when the California Republican was fighting to become House speaker in a protracted vote earlier this year. anus. He was seen as helping propel McCarthy into the job.

McCarthy insisted that he was taking steps to ensure that security at the Capitol was not compromised by the statement, but declined to provide details, only to say that Carlson made it clear to the speaker’s team that he did not want to show “exit routes.” used by legislators or others.

Access to the images will also be available to defendants facing charges for their alleged involvement on January 6. McCarthy said defendants have had access before, but if it’s still needed, “we can provide it to you as well.”

The House Administration Committee’s Oversight subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ge., is making arrangements for attorneys representing the defendants who have requested to see the images, the person familiar with said. the situation.

Democrats on the panel said they were “deeply concerned” by McCarthy’s actions, warning that access to large numbers of images could expose security vulnerabilities for use by those “who wish to attack the Capitol again,” according to a report. They undertook to carry out supervision.

But the Republican leader has made clear he is working to set the record as he sees it, complaining repeatedly that other news outlets, including CNN, had already been given exclusives to show videos last year, when Democrats had the majority in the House.

McCarthy also suggested that it was unfair that the January 6 panel, which dissolved after Republicans took control of the House, released security video during the riot in which former Vice President Mike Pence fled for safety, as well as the Republican leader’s own staff fighting to secure his office.

“I was concerned that the January 6 committee would show the Story-level president’s exit strategy,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. “What I thought would be better is that the whole world and the country could see what happened.”

Carlson has said his producers have been on Capitol Hill since early February, poring over the footage after gaining “unrestricted access” from McCarthy.

The file is a potential treasure trove of the inner workings of the Capitol and includes lawmakers’ hideouts as well as evacuation routes Capitol Police used to get rank and file leaders and members to safety. It also includes long moments of empty corridors where nothing happens.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the release of the tapes to Carlson “despicable” and said he would not agree to release them to other media. “Safety has to be the number one concern,” Schumer said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell did not comment directly on McCarthy’s decision, saying his only concern is Capitol Hill security.


Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

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