House Republicans have taken the initiative to release thousands of hours of footage from inside the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters attacked the building. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) stated that this decision would provide transparency to millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media.
The videos will be made available on a dedicated website over the weekend, with blurring of private citizens’ faces in unreleased tapes and redaction of about 5 percent of the footage due to building security concerns. Around 90 hours of footage were posted on the committee’s website on Friday, with the full release expected to be completed by Monday.
Since the Capitol riot, over 1,100 individuals have been charged. There has been a growing divide regarding the severity of the attack and what transpired inside the Capitol on that fateful day. Proponents of transparency, particularly those facing charges, have been demanding access to the full footage. The House Administration Committee, led by Chair Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), had previously announced their efforts to make the videos accessible.
The decision to release the footage is significant considering the recent backlash faced by House Speaker Mike Johnson from some factions on the far-right. Johnson’s deal with Democrats to approve government funding into early 2024 drew criticism, and he faced further scrutiny for not immediately making all of the January 6 footage public. Instead, access to the collection was exclusively offered to conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, who was associated with Courtesy News at the time.
Overall, the release of the footage by House Republicans represents an effort to promote transparency and allow individuals to form their own understanding of the events that unfolded on January 6, 2021, in the nation’s capital.