House Republicans on Tuesday defended their plan to give Fox host Tucker Carlson and his producers unlimited access to more than 40,000 hours of video starting Jan. 6, 2021, but said the release is coordinated and will go through a process before completion. was released.
It’s not yet clear when Carlson plans to air the footage or what specific footage he plans to show, but his team is not allowed to record the footage and is required to view the footage in a controlled environment and cannot be videoed with them.
Without elaborating, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told a news conference that what was released would “obviously be scrutinized” and accused former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of revealing sensitive information through the footage played during the hearing. during the January 6 hearings.
The Jan. 6 investigators did not release the video without close consultation with Capitol Police and their general counsel, however, according to sources familiar with their work. The general counsel would review the material the committee wanted to show and then come back with specific requests about what video to cut or what video he didn’t want to be used publicly. Committee investigators also had to view the video on a special terminal set up by the Capitol Police.
“Well, of course, if you watch what the January 6th committee did, under Chairman Pelosi, they actually released a lot of videos that were very sensitive,” Scalise said. “I mean, they literally released video of Vice President Pence walking out of the Capitol, showing the route he’s going. I didn’t hear a lot of concern about that at the time. We were concerned about how selective they were.”
“So people should ask the J6 committee if they were concerned about national security aspects when they released a ton of footage,” said Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
In a closed-door conference call on Tuesday, McCarthy defended the deal with Carlson and the importance of “transparency,” according to sources in the room.
McCarthy ignored reporters’ questions about the Jan. 6 tapes, including several times Tuesday. He dodged questions from ABC News about the release of the tapes and potential security concerns.
A lawyer representing media outlets, including ABC News, has written to congressional leaders asking that the material be made available to additional media outlets and not just Fox News’ opinion piece.
The Justice Department has already released hundreds of hours of surveillance and body camera footage as part of the more than 900 prosecutions of rioters accused of the Capitol attack. At times, however, the Justice Department has cooperated with Capitol Police in raising concerns about the release of some footage that could reveal sensitive areas of the Capitol, the location of closed-circuit cameras and other sensitive security moves.
Separately, a coalition of media outlets, including ABC News, has also fought in court to have exhibits from those prosecutions released, in many cases over the objections of the defendants.