House Republicans have begun releasing thousands of hours of footage from inside the Capitol from Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building.
“This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in announcing the website, where videos will be posted throughout the weekend.
According to Johnson, faces of private citizens will be blurred on any unreleased tapes and about 5 percent of the footage from the day will be redacted for building security concerns.
About 90 hours of the 44,000 hours of footage appeared online Friday, through the committee’s website. The full release is expected to be complete by Monday.
More than 1,100 people have been charged in the Capitol riot. In the months since then-President Trump directed his followers to go to the Capitol to stop the certification of President Biden’s win in the 2020 election, a divide has grown over opinions of how severe the attack was and what actually happened inside the halls of the Capitol, where lawmakers and Vice President Pence had to be whisked to secure areas to hide from the mob. Capitol Police engaged in direct conflicts with protestors, who used bear spray, bike racks, flag poles and other items to bust through barricades that had been erected around the building.
A select House committee under the direction of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spent months investigating what happened on that day and released some of the most dramatic footage during its final report.
But those who took part in the attack have clamored for access to the full footage, particularly those who face charges.
House Administration Committee Chair Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) initially announced in September that his panel was working to create access to the videos.
The reveal comes as Johnson, who became House speaker on Oct. 25 after the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), has faced backlash from some on the far-right. Johnson brokered a deal to approve government funding into early 2024 with help from Democrats.
McCarthy drew scorn from Republicans and Democrats for not immediately releasing all of the January 6 footage to the public and instead offering access to the trove exclusively to conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, then of Fox News.
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Author: Elizabeth Crisp