House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he will “slowly roll out” the security footage recorded during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach to news outlets.
“We will slowly roll out to every individual news agency, they can come see the tapes as well,” McCarthy told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“Let everyone see them to bring their own judgment,” he added. “The first thing I found is that the January 6 committee was not honest with us. That it’s not 14,000 hours of tapes, there’s 41,000 hours of tapes.”
McCarthy has provided Fox News host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage from Jan. 6. The host then aired some of the clips on March 6.
“Taken as a whole, the video record does not support the claim that January 6 was an insurrection,” Carlson said during his program. “In fact, it demolishes that claim.”
Footage shown by Carlson raised questions about “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley’s time in the Capitol and U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick’s death.
McCarthy’s decision to share the footage with Carlson has been criticized by Democrats, including President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
When asked if he had any regret over sharing the footage with Carlson, McCarthy stood by his decision.
“I didn’t give the tapes. I allowed him to come see them, just like an exclusive with anybody else,” McCarthy said. “My goal here is transparency.”
The top House Republican added that it was important to have “equal justice,” pointing to protests after the death of George Floyd in 2020.
“The one thing I understand in America, we should have equal justice,” he said. “What really raises the point with me is, why did I watch federal courts, why did I watch cities burn, federal agencies or something, and nobody arrested there? I think we should have equal justice across this country.
“And it’s really concerning to me, since we’ve taken the majority, the things I have learned that government has done, that withheld information from the American people. That will not happen on our watch, regardless of what information says or doesn’t say,” he added.
“I think transparency is best and allow the American public to see it all. And we need to have equal justice across this nation,” he concluded.
Last week, in an interview with Breitbart News, McCarthy said that the security footage of Jan. 6 must go through a security review before a full public release.
“We just want to make sure we go through them all, and it takes time,” he said.
Separately on Sunday, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that McCarthy had assured him that the Jan. 6 footage would be made available to all media.
“He has given me assurance, he’s going to turn it over to the entire media, I think. I believe in the fourth estate freedom of press, and I think the American people deserve to see all the footage from that day,” McCaul said.
The Texas lawmaker warned that the footage is not going to show “tourism at the Capitol.”
“It’s going to show a very dark, tragic day that I witnessed firsthand, that included our Capitol Police being assaulted, 140 of them injured, two pipe bombs,” McCaul said. “One Capitol Police officer killed, and a protester killed. That’s not—that’s not a good day.”
He added that what happened on Jan. 6 could have been prevented.
“I think it should have been prevented had we had good intelligence that day beforehand,” he said.
Also on Sunday, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who sits on the Armed Services Committee, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that McCarthy shouldn’t have released the footage to Carlson alone.
“What I do regret probably as much as anything about the release of the 41,000 hours is it was released to one person in primetime who is, you know, rather sensational in his approach and rather than just releasing it to everybody,” Cramer said.
He added: “I think transparency absolutely is the best way to go. I think Kevin McCarthy’s right to do it. I just wish he would’ve released it to everybody at the same time.”
Cramer said he was frustrated that much attention is still being paid to what happened on Jan. 6.
“We should be talking about the southern border,” Cramer said. “We should be talking about China and the challenge it possesses, and talking about inflation and a budget that drives up deficits forever.
“Those are winning arguments for Republicans, not relitigating Jan. 6.”