Kevin McCarthy said that he doesn’t regret giving Tucker Carlson footage from the January 6 Capitol attack as he repeatedly dodged questions about what the Fox News host decided to air.
The House Speaker insisted while speaking with reports outside his office on Tuesday that he had not yet seen what Carlson put on his show Monday night and therefore would not comment.
He also tore into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for criticizing Fox for airing the footage, claiming that he should also then denounce CNN for revealing the secure locations of lawmakers the day of the Capitol riot.
‘I didn’t see what was aired,’ McCarthy said when asked about Carlson downplaying the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. ‘What I want to do exactly is give transparency to everybody and everybody can make up their own conclusion.’
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy doesn’t regret giving 44,000 hours of January 6 footage to Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, who aired parts of the attack on his Monday program
When a reporter explained that Carlson said the ‘rioters’ were actually ‘mostly peaceful protesters,’ McCarthy replied: ‘Well, that’s what you said.’
‘I don’t know what Tucker Carlson said,’ he added.
Earlier in the day, McConnell slammed the Fox News host, who aired some parts of the 44,000 hours of footage from the riot that people, including Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, claimed were ‘cherry picked’ to downplay the attack that day.
‘It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,’ McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.
When asked about McConnell’s comments, McCarthy deflected, claiming that CNN should also then come under fire for an article where they revealed the secure locations of members during the riot.
‘I hope McConnell would have been concerned with CNN,’ McCarthy said while holding up a piece of paper with the CNN story.
McCarthy gave Carlson and his team exclusive access to the security tapes, which they then aired on Monday night.
‘They were orderly and meek,’ said Carlson of those who stormed the Capitol.
‘These were not insurrectionists; they were sightseers,’ he insisted.
McConnell opened his weekly news conference on Tuesday by saying he fully aligned himself with Manger, who called Carlson’s conclusions ‘offensive and misleading.’
He held up a paper copy of Manger’s statement, titled ‘Truth & Justice,’ during his briefing.
Rank-and-file Republicans all all the way up to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Fox News host Tucker Carlson for downplaying the January 6 attack after obtaining the footage from McCarthy
Sen. Thom Tillis called Carlson’s portrayal of the day ‘bulls***’ and Sen. Mitt Romney said Carlson had gone ‘off the rails’
But pressed repeatedly by reporters McConnell refused to criticize McCarthy for handing over the tapes to the conservative news network.
‘Now, you all know I have many faults, but one of them is not answering the question in a way that I don’t want to answer it,’ he quipped, adding that his qualms were with Fox News’ portrayal of the incident.
Sen. Josh Hawley, however, pushed back on McConnell’s assertion, tweeting in response: ‘Sunshine is always the right answer.’ The Missouri Republican famously held his fist up to January 6 protesters before they stormed the building during the certification of President Biden’s election.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., called Carlson’s portrayal of the events ‘inexcusable.’
‘I think it’s bulls***,’ he told reporters.
‘I was here. I was down there and I saw maybe a few tourists, a few people who got caught up in things,’ he added. ‘But when you see police barricades breached, when you see police officers assaulted, all of that … if you were just a tourist you should’ve probably lined up at the visitors’ center and came in on an orderly basis.’
Sen. Mitt Romney directly criticized McCarthy for giving Fox exclusive access to the footage.
‘If you’re gonna give footage, give it to all the networks, not just one,’ the Utah Republican told reporters. ‘Placating the base of my party is not the right way forward for the Republican Party or for the country.’
He tore into Carlson: ‘It’s really sad to see Tucker Carlson go off the rails…it’s so absurd.’
GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer, S.D., said Carlson’s portrayal of the event as ‘some rowdy, peaceful protest of Boy Scouts’ is ‘just a lie.’
‘I think it doesn’t do any good for the narrative,’ he added.
GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Texas, told Politico: ‘I don’t really have a problem with making it all public. But if your message is then to try and convince people that nothing bad happened, then it’s just gonna make us look silly.’
‘It’s definitely stupid to keep talking about this. …So what is the purpose of continuing to bring it up unless you’re trying to feed Democrat narratives even further?’ he added.
Tucker Carlson on Monday night released footage from inside the Capitol on January 6, including clips showing the ‘QAnon Shaman’, Jacob Chansley (above), being apparently ‘escorted’ through the building
In footage screened on Carlson’s show Monday night, so-called QAnon Shaman Jacob Chansley was apparently seen being escorted into the Senate by Capitol police officers.
Carlson suggested that challenged the prevailing narrative that Chansley – jailed for four years over the incident – aggressively barged into the chamber.
Also broadcast was footage of Captiol cop Brian Sicknick, who died shortly after the riot.
It was originally suggested Sicknick’s death came as the result of being attacked with a fire extinguisher and pepper spray by rioters.
But a medical examiner later ruled he’d died of natural causes. And Carlson shared footage of Sicknick walking around the Capitol after the attack. Sicknick died the following day.
He also referenced Ray Epps, who was seen among the rioters urging them to storm the Capitol, yet was never charged – giving rise to suspicion that Epps was in fact an informant. Epps has denied working for the government.
On Monday, Carlson suggested Epps was lying.
‘Very little about January 6 was organized or violent.
‘Surveillance video from inside the Capitol shows mostly peaceful chaos.’
Carlson pointed to footage showing the ‘QAnon Shaman’ – a bare-chested, Viking helmet-wearing Jacob Chansley – inside the Capitol.
Chansley, a 33-year-old naval veteran from Arizona, was one of the most high-profile figures to enter the Capitol on January 6.
He has been jailed for almost four years for ‘obstructing an official proceeding.’
In the footage, Chansley appears to be guided by an official as he wanders the Capitol.
He passes a line of riot police, who make no move to stop him.
Then they escort him to various entrances of the chamber which appear to be locked, and eventually find him an open door through which he vanishes.
‘Virtually every moment of his time inside the Capitol was caught on tape,’ said Carlson.
‘The tapes show the Capitol police never stopped Jacob Chansley. They helped him. They acted as his tour guides.’
Chansley is seen being followed through the Capitol by a police officer
Carlson further suggested alleged Capitol Rioter Ray Epps – pictured in red Trump cap – was actually an FBI agent send to stoke violence. Epps denies his claims
Carlson also showed the moments after Officer Brian Sicknick was confronted by the rioters.
Four officers died by suicide in the days and weeks after the riot.
There have also been roughly 1,000 arrests.
The footage comes as Fox News continues to contest a $1.6 billion lawsuit taken out against the broadcasting giant by Dominion, who manufactured voting machines for the 2020 election.
Fox is being sued over claims the network endorsed theories the firm’s voting machines were rigged to deliver a Biden win.
The broadcaster’s owner Rupert Murdoch was recently deposed over the lawsuit, and said he’d ‘liked (Fox) to have been stronger denouncing’ the stolen election claims.
Fox news denies the claims made against it by Dominion.
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