Feb 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: McCarthy gives Tucker Carlson access to trove of Jan. 6 riot tape

A screen shot of Tucker Carlson anchoring his Fox News show "Tucker Carlson Tonight"

Screenshot: Fox News

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox News' Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot, McCarthy sources tell me.

  • Carlson TV producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove, which includes multiple camera angles from all over Capitol grounds. Excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: Carlson has repeatedly questioned official accounts of 1/6, downplaying the insurrection as "vandalism."

  • Now his shows — "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Fox News, and "Tucker Carlson Today" and "Tucker Carlson Originals" on the streaming service Fox Nation — have a massive trove of raw material.

Carlson told me: "[T]here 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. It's impossible for me to understand why any honest person would be bothered by that."

Reality check: The Jan. 6 committee played numerous excerpts of the footage at last year's captivating hearings. (See the committee's archive.)

Between the lines: The process with Carlson started in early February, according to a communication between the show and a McCarthy representative that I was shown.

Flashback: McCarthy told reporters in Statuary Hall last month that he thinks "the American public should actually see all [that] happened instead of a report that's written [on] a political basis." (Video, beginning 10:50)

  • Pushing for the release of the footage, Carlson argued on his show last month that Washington has "a regime of secrecy and deceit."

Carlson last year called the attack an "outbreak of mob violence, a forgettably minor outbreak by recent standards."

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