Schumer Calls McCarthy’s Decision to Share Jan. 6 Footage ‘Despicable’

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
March 2, 2023Politics
Schumer Calls McCarthy’s Decision to Share Jan. 6 Footage ‘Despicable’
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 7, 2023. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to share footage of the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol with Fox News host Tucker Carlson a “despicable” move.

“Look, I think what McCarthy did was despicable, damaged our security,” Schumer told The Hill on Tuesday.

Schumer went on to say that his Republican House counterpart McCarthy (R-Calif.) is going to “run into trouble himself” if he listened to the so-called “MAGA right” of the Republican Party.

Last week, Carlson announced his Fox News show producers had been reviewing the security footage and planned to begin reporting on it this week.

Schumer is one of several Democratic leaders who have criticized McCarthy’s decision to share the security footage. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chaired the now-defunct special House committee that investigated the Capitol breach, also cited security concerns over sharing the footage and accused Carlson of routinely spreading “misinformation and [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] poisonous propaganda.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), another former member of the Jan. 6 committee, similarly described Carlson as a “right-wing propagandist,” as well as “a man who spews Kremlin talking points” and who “suggests Jan. 6 was a false flag.”

“Make no mistake: This isn’t about transparency, it’s about fueling dangerous conspiracy theories,” Schiff wrote on Twitter.

NTD News reached out to McCarthy for comment, but he did not respond before this article was published. Last week, McCarthy did defend his decision to share the security footage during an interview with The New York Times, saying the disclosure was in the public interest.

“I was asked in the press about these tapes, and I said they do belong to the American public. I think sunshine lets everybody make their own judgment,” McCarthy told The New York Times.

Jan. 6 Defendants Have Sought Footage for Months

In an interview with MSNBC, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said sharing the Jan. 6 Capitol security footage with Carlson would either be used to “distort what happened on January 6 by Tucker Carlson” or as a blueprint of the building that would-be attackers could use in future attacks. “You just gave the proudest boy of all a blueprint for the Capitol … who knows where that will land for the next insurrection,” said Swalwell.

While Democrats have largely suggested McCarthy’s decision could pose a security risk, many Jan. 6 defendants have sought the security footage for months—hoping that it would help vindicate them of any criminal wrongdoing during the events of that day.

When Carlson first announced that his show had gained access to the security footage, he said he and his producers believed the footage they’d already reviewed in some ways contradicted “the story that we’ve been told for more than two years.”

Carlson said his show has access to about 44,000 hours of security camera recordings.

Last year, defense attorney Jonathon Moseley sued for the release of all footage from the events of that day. Moseley said prosecutors and the U.S. Capitol police have been able to “pick and choose what information with which to smear these defendants in public and condemn them in public, while withholding an equal measure of exculpatory information.”

“For two years, the Department of Justice has selectively leaked footage to shape their preferred narratives. And for two years, Democrats in Congress worked to ‘establish’ their own narrative,” Jan. 6 defendant William Pope told The Epoch Times on Monday.

Additional body camera footage showed MPDC Commander Jason Bagshaw and other police officers repeatedly beating Jan. 6 defendant Victoria C. White over the head with a baton. The release of the footage led White to decline a plea deal.

Republicans Say Jan. 6 Footage Getting Security Review

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) recently offered some assurances that there is a process to address security concerns stemming from the Jan. 6 footage.

“It’s basically controlled access to be able to view tapes,” Loudermilk told The Hill on Tuesday.

Loudermilk said Carlson’s team had been permitted to review the footage but couldn’t simply record it and take it with them.

“They will request any particular clips that … they may need, and then we’ll make sure that there’s nothing sensitive, nothing classified—you know, escape routes,” Loudermilk said.

House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) also told The Hill that “what gets released is going to obviously be scrutinized to make sure that you’re not exposing any sensitive information.”

Some advocates are seeking full access to the security footage, arguing that Carlson alone shouldn’t have access to the materials. Pope told The Epoch Times that while he appreciated Carlson’s work, he believed the Fox News host shouldn’t be the only one given access to the footage.

Loudermilk said the overall Republican objective is to more broadly release the Jan. 6 security footage, though the review process could take “weeks to months.” He said whatever footage Fox News requests that is turned over after a security review will also be eligible for release to the rest of the news media and the general public.

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