House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gave Fox News host Tucker Carlson access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage taken in the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.
Excerpts of the footage will air on Fox News in the coming weeks, according to Axios’ Mike Allen, who was the first to report McCarthy shared the footage with Carlson. A Fox News spokesperson confirmed Axios’ report to HuffPost.
Carlson told Axios “there was never any legitimate reason for this footage to remain secret.”
“If there was ever a question that’s in the public’s interest to know, it’s what actually happened on January 6. By definition, this video will reveal it,” Carlson said, according to Axios. “It’s impossible for me to understand why any honest person would be bothered by that.”
Carlson has repeatedly defended those who stormed the Capitol, calling hearings conducted by the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 “propaganda” and widely sharing conspiracy theories about the driving forces behind the riots.
In a November letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), McCarthy demanded the Jan. 6. committee preserve all gathered evidence, testimony and transcripts, something House rules already require. McCarthy suggested the committee, which Thompson chaired, focused too much on former President Donald Trump’s actions around Jan. 6, and claimed House Republicans would further probe “why the Capitol complex was not secure” that day.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Jan. 6 panel, called McCarthy’s release of the footage to Carlson “an astounding ethical collapse.”
Far-right figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Donald Trump Jr. celebrated the news, and McCarthy’s role in sharing the footage, Monday.
A recent court filing revealed Carlson referred to Trump as “a demonic force” and “a destroyer” after rioters stormed the Capitol, though he continued to defend Trump during his prime time show. The filing also revealed skepticism from several Fox News hosts over claims of voter fraud being pushed by Trump allies like attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.
In a response to an earlier story about the court filing from attorneys for Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing the network for $1.6 billion over defamation, a Fox News spokesperson downplayed the documents.
“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan,” the Fox News spokesperson said.