House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has announced his intention to release tens of thousands of hours of U.S. Capitol surveillance footage from January 6, 2021, to the public.
In an hour-long on-camera interview with Breitbart News, McCarthy explained that the footage would be released after all sensitive security information is removed.
The move comes after Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired some never-before-seen clips of such surveillance footage earlier this week, undermining some narratives put forward by the last Congress’s January 6 select committee.
“Yeah,” McCarthy said when asked if the tapes will be fully released to the public. “We just want to make sure we go through them all, and it takes time.”
During the interview, McCarthy explained that his decision to release the footage is driven by his desire for transparency.
“It’s better for transparency that anyone can make their own decision up,” he said.
The footage Carlson aired on his show showed January 6 protesters inside the Capitol lining up and taking pictures inside.
Carlson referred to them as “sightseers” rather than “insurrectionists.”
Carlson also showed Capitol Police officers walking around inside the Capitol for several minutes with the now-infamous “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley and even trying to help him open locked doors.
McCarthy, who became speaker of the House just two months ago, provided Carlson with access to several of these tapes in the interest of transparency.
However, McCarthy told Breitbart News that Carlson just got the first bite at the apple and that these videos will be released more broadly in the coming weeks as sensitive security information is removed.
“Well this is all about transparency,” McCarthy said when asked why he released the tapes. “It won’t just be to Tucker. Like any news organization, different people get exclusives. We watched during the January 6, CNN would have exclusives all the time and nobody complained.”
McCarthy said he is unsure if the tapes will affect any trials or convictions of January 6 defendants, but argued that any of them should be able to use any of the tapes in their defense.
“I’m not sure but anybody’s that’s been held for trial, they should be able to have the ability to see the tapes,” McCarthy said. “They should be able to use the tapes. I don’t know if he [Chansley] was able to use the tapes during then, but I also believe in America you need equal justice.”
Asked if he intends to investigate the investigators, McCarthy noted that people like now former Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) are no longer in Congress.
As for Thompson, who was chair of the now shut-down committee, McCarthy said that his predecessor Pelosi’s decision to appoint him chair was suspect given his objections to previous elections of GOP presidents like in 2004 when he formally objected to the certification of then-President George W. Bush’s reelection.
“You know Adam and Liz are no longer here. What’s interesting is that Pelosi would even appoint Thompson for this committee,” McCarthy said. “You remember, he objected to the presidential election.”