Democrats say McCarthy’s release of Jan. 6 footage poses a security threat to US Capitol

 “[McCarthy] owes the American people an explanation,” says Bennie Thompson, Jan. 6 Committee Chairman

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Members of Congress and the media are up in arms with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for granting Fox News host Tucker Carlson access to footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

According to CNN, attorney Charles Tobin sent a letter on behalf of several news outlets to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel demanding that Congress grant several media outlets access to the Jan. 6 tapes.  

FILE – Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump stand outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. On Monday, Dec. 19, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold its final meeting. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

This week, McCarthy doubled down on his actions and stated that he will share the footage with the public very soon; however, he agreed to give Carlson exclusivity, the Associated Press reported.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, Jeffries told theGrio that McCarthy’s decision to share the footage was “irresponsible.”

“House Democrats have been pretty clear that providing security footage in a manner that would jeopardize protocols, the safety, the well-being of everyone who serves in this Capitol…is an irresponsible thing,” he said.

In a public statement, Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said, “[McCarthy] owes the American people an explanation.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a member of the Jan. 6 panel, condemned McCarthy’s actions in a tweet.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. During the press conference, McCarthy said he had no recollection of speaking with former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson on January 6, 2020. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“McCarthy gave 1/6 footage to propagandist Tucker Carlson to edit for his fake-news ‘Patriot Purge’ dogma. But America knows Trump’s mob assaulted Congress, chanted ‘hang Mike Pence,’ and nearly toppled our election. Can Putin’s PR team work a Stalinist rewrite,” he wrote.

The caption was accompanied by a snippet from Raskin’s appearance on an episode of MSNBC’s “The Reid Out” hosted by Joy Reid.

In the video, he asserted that McCarthy released footage to Fox News to further perpetuate a conspiracy theory and spread “disinformation and propaganda.”

Raskin and many others are concerned that Carlson will skew the facts of the insurrection while broadcasting to his Fox News audience.

On Wednesday, Jeffries told reporters that despite how the Fox News host may perceive the events that unfolded, the Jan. 6 Committee “presented an incredibly comprehensive picture of what happened on Jan. 6.”

“Even more significantly the narrative of Jan. 6 was told through the lens of Donald Trump’s closest allies…who revealed what happened in terms of leading up to the violent insurrection and also the failure of former President Trump to do anything meaningful to stop it,” he recounted.

Regarding granting other media outlets access to Jan. 6 footage, Jeffries wants to err on the side of caution.

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its final meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. From left, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Thompson, Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. (Al Drago/Pool Photo via AP)

He told theGrio, “We’ll have to figure out an appropriate way to balance a set of interests in transparency around what happened during the violent insurrection, but in a way that does not irresponsibly jeopardize the security and safety of all who serve or visit the Capitol.”

He added, “The first step and the most important step is to make sure that the Capitol Police vet all of the security video that is being contemplated to present to the American people.”

In his statement, Congressman Thompson said, “It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were to be used irresponsibly.”

He continued, “When the 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.”

Thompson has requested that McCarthy provide Congress and the public with steps he has taken to address the significant security concerns at stake.”

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