WASHINGTON – Fox News host Tucker Carlson released new security footage from the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, using videos exclusively provided to him by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to portray the riot as a gathering peaceful.
Carlson obtained the tapes as part of a deal to win over McCarthy with the speaker’s gift. When McCarthy was struggling to muster the votes to lead the House, Carlson used his program to list two “concessions” he could make to defeat far-right Republicans.
“First, the files were released on January 6. Some of the files and videos of Jan. 6 are not — all,” Carlson, the most-watched cable news host, said after McCarthy faced three failed votes. “So that the rest will know we finally know what happened on 6 January 2021.”
In the two months since McCarthy won the award, he has approved both. Carlson announced in late February that McCarthy had given him exclusive access to 44,000 hours of security footage from the deadly riot before showing some clips of the footage on his Monday night show.
Carlson focused Monday’s segment on promoting Trump’s narrative by showing footage of his supporters calmly walking around the US Capitol. He asserted that other media accounts lied about the attack, announcing that while there were some bad apples, most of the rioters were peaceful, calling them “sightseers,” not “insurrectionists.”
“The film does not show an uprising or a riot taking place,” Carlson told his audience on Monday. “Instead it shows police escorting people through the building, including the now famous ‘QAnon Shaman’.”
He continued: “More than 44,000 hours of surveillance footage in and around the Capitol was withheld from the public and when you see the video, you’ll understand why. Taken as a whole, the video does not support the claim that Jan. It was 6 rebellions. In fact, it disproves that claim.”
A video shows that Carlson did not air police and rioters engaged in hours of violent fighting that resulted in hundreds of police officers being injured. Two pipe bombs were also planted nearby but did not explode.
Almost 1,000 people have been accused of the Capitol attack. About 140 officers were assaulted that day, and about 326 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or obstructing officers or employees, including 106 assaults with a deadly or dangerous weapon. About 60 people pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement.
Carlson also said on his show Monday that Democrats lied about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. He played footage he said showed Sicknick walking around inside the Capitol after being attacked by the mob. “They knew the mob didn’t murder him, but they claimed him anyway,” he said.
Sicknick died of natural causes on January 7, the day after touching down with a rioter outside the Capitol. An autopsy report determined that Sicknick died of a stroke at the base of the brain stem caused by a blood clot. Capitol police have said Sicknick returned to his office during the riot and collapsed. Two men were sentenced to prison for spraying him with chemical irritants during the melee and Sicknick’s family claimed the fight with a riot directly contributed to his stroke.
McCarthy’s controversial decision to hand over the Jan. 6 footage to Carlson marks a new twist on one of the most scrutinized events in American history, which has produced countless hours of social media footage, a sweeping criminal investigation by the Justice Department , a House select committee investigator and then-President Donald Trump’s bipartisan impeachment on “inciting insurrection.”
The release of the video after two years, on Fox News during prime time, highlights the influence of Carlson, who minimized and promoted conspiracy theories on January 6, and the right far over the narrow majority of the new House.
Carlson also said at the top of his show Monday that Fox had checked with Capitol Police before airing any of the footage.
“Their reservations were small,” he said, saying Fox obscured a door inside the Capitol in response to the agency’s request.
NBC News has reached out to the Capitol Police for comment.
Carlson said he plans to air additional footage during his show Tuesday night.
This program introduces tough politics to McCarthy who, with the release of the tapes to Carlson, will set off a national debate about the failed rebellion that protected his party’s seats in the mid-term election – and that comes on a contest presidential 2024 with Trump leading the GOP field in the race. of coming back.
“From an electoral point of view, there is no advantage for them to be on the side of the rebellions. But he hasn’t stopped them before,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.
The Republican speaker’s actions prompted criticism from members of both parties and demands from news outlets, including NBC News, for access to the footage. Some lawmakers say the tapes could be taken out of context to create a false narrative about what happened that day. Others worry that they could reveal the identity of the police officers who protected the Capitol and harassed them. And many Republicans are saying that security information should be protected and that all media should have equal access.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said the tapes “should be reviewed to ensure they are not used in a way that could harm law enforcement” before they are released to anyone.
“I don’t quite know what Speaker McCarthy meant,” he said. “I think it’s appropriate to provide information to the general public and not just to one network.”
McCarthy defended his decision, saying he has taken security concerns into account and that his office has “worked with Capitol Police” to ensure “security concerns are taken care of”. Carlson also said at the top of his show Monday that Fox had discussed what it planned to broadcast with Capitol Police in advance.
“He’ll have an exclusive then I’ll give it out to the whole country,” said McCarthy, R-Calif., adding that Carlson’s “staff is not interested” in showing sensitive security pieces such as exits. “We’re working through that. We also worked with the Capitol Police. So we will make sure that security is taken care of.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said McCarthy’s decision “demonstrated that this disgrace is nothing more than pandering to MAGA election deniers,” accusing Carlson of “using her platform to promote the Big Lie , distort reality, and promote false conspiracy theories by January 6. “
Some Republicans believe reopening the debate on Jan. 6 is a mistake, especially after Trump-backed election deniers face midterm wins up and down the ballot in swing states.
“The 2022 election was a racial rejection of electoral denial. He protected Senate Republicans and almost kept them from winning back the House,” said Republican strategist Ken Spain, a former aide on the GOP’s House campaign arm. “With a razor-thin majority, House Republicans can’t waste a minute looking back.”
Trump’s allies are looking for one thing on those tapes: confirmation.
“We’ve heard for two years how important this committee was on Jan. 6, how important all the evidence they gathered was,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who sent the first Senate challenge to the 2020 results that forced a vote. , turning a sleepy ritual into a rallying point for Trump and his enthusiastic followers. “Let’s see it. We will see the whole video.”
Hawley said, among the people at the Capitol, “I think the great majority were peaceful.” He added: “My friends on the left are softening on this. ‘We can’t have that!’ Well, why can’t we? I thought it was vital to put it out there.”
“What’s on the tapes? I don’t know, but I’m interested in seeing them,” he said.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the Jan. 6 security footage “should be made available to the public or at least congressional oversight” because “that’s a very dramatic thing that happened on one day in our country’s history.”
“What has been investigated is such a small percentage that a lot could be learned,” he said.
The January 6 release of some of the security footage comes two years after the attack, in which Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn his 2020 victory. Trump continued his claims that the election was stolen from him, despite his failure to provide evidence of substantial fraud. He also continued to defend many of the rioters as patriots.
In a recent letter to colleagues, Schumer warned that Carlson would use any clips from the riot to promote his own story. “If the past is any indication, Tucker Carlson will only pick out clips that he can use to twist the facts to cast doubt on what happened on January 6th and further his propaganda air Fox News already, which is based on the recent. reports, he may not believe himself,” Schumer wrote.