McCarthy's Release of January 6 Footage Offers Hope for Clarity | Opinion

When it comes to January 6, 2021, a day cynically cast by Democrats as equivalent to 9/11, Pearl Harbor, and the depths of the Civil War to smear and target the "deplorable" half of the country, Democrats demand that you believe them, and not your lying eyes.

The reality is that they can't handle your handling of the truth.

That's the dirty secret behind their outrage over House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) decision to fulfill a commitment to release the 44,000 hours of January 6 footage the U.S. Capitol Police had been sitting on—outrage further stoked because the process will begin with reporting on the tapes by the Ruling Class's preeminent bête noire, Tucker Carlson.

The purpose of the release of the footage should be obvious: Americans deserve to know the unvarnished truth about the Capitol breach—an event that has been used to justify the Left's sprawling, civil liberties-eviscerating War on Wrongthink.

In a bygone era, the civil liberties-minded Left would have demanded such transparency from a national security apparatus they were long inherently skeptical of, if not outright hostile toward.

No longer. Why?

Leftists are now the American national security apparatus's greatest champions because that apparatus has been weaponized against the Right.

Democrats and their Deep State allies have repeatedly cried "State secrets!" to cover up the corruption, politicization, and weaponization of a national security apparatus that has dutifully done the Left's bidding—stonewalling, redacting, and burying materials that would plainly reveal such lawlessness and misconduct.

Remember the controversy over releasing Russiagate's "Nunes Memo?" How about over naming Ukrainegate's "whistleblower?"

War and Peace-length tomes could be written about the former case—a Russiagate scandal in which critical documents ordered declassified by the sitting president himself still haven't seen the light of day.

In the case of January 6, Democratic lawmakers are arguably more heavily implicated than their Deep State partners.

It was then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), after all, who was disproportionately responsible for the U.S. Capitol security lapses.

That's in part why it was imperative for her to turn the January 6 Committee into a sham, Soviet-style show trial led by Democrats and Trump-hating "Republicans"—so that Pelosi's own culpability could never be scrutinized.

The argument from Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Benny Thompson (D-MS) that McCarthy releasing the January 6 tapes poses a national security risk must be considered against this background.

For his part, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve who no one would call a squish on security—and who oversaw the production of a report on January 6 security lapses after being booted from the January 6 Committee by Pelosi—dismissed such concerns in a recent interview with me for RealClearPolitics.

Further belying the Democrats' cynical argument is that in virtually every other context, they seem so little concerned with security—treating it as a provocation, or an act of aggression.

The Democrats, after all, are the party of "defund the police," no-cash bail, and pro-crime prosecutors—a party uniquely culpable for the massive spike in violent crime and general dysfunction in cities Democrats control.

They are the party of open borders.

Democrats certainly didn't care about security during the Antifa-Black Lives Matter riots of 2020.

They didn't care about security when progressive activists illegally—and with total impunity—protested outside U.S. Supreme Court justices' homes in an attempt to intimidate them into flipping their votes in the Dobbs abortion case decided last summer.

Democrats had no qualms about security risks when they released Capitol Police footage they felt was beneficial to their political case, via the January 6 Committee.

And apparently, they didn't much care for security on January 6 itself. The 44,000 hours of footage should corroborate this.

And that is precisely the point—the very reason Democrats don't want you to see the footage.

Also worth noting: The U.S. Capitol was breached without anyone having seen a single minute of Capitol Police footage.

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican from California, holds his weekly press conference in Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 28, 2020. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

With the Capitol having been compromised, shouldn't new protocols now be crafted, and new measures taken, based on the assumption that whatever could be learned from the January 6 tapes is already known to bad actors?

For their part, Republicans are apparently taking pains to vet the footage to allay security concerns before the footage's release.

As for their outrage over Tucker Carlson's role in dissecting the footage, Democrats have returned to their tried-and-true response of slandering and smearing.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)—who still has not produced evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, the ultimate conspiracy theory, and who recklessly and irresponsibly abused his position on the House Intelligence Committee, leading to his ouster from it—casts Carlson as a conspiracy theorist, a Putin stooge, and a reckless and irresponsible one at that.

Schiff's hectoring is generally a telling indicator that one is over the target.

On Carlson's primetime Fox News show, viewers have been presented with evidence that challenges the established January 6 narrative in myriad ways intolerable to the Ruling Class, including:

  • That it was not an armed insurrection;
  • That Capitol rioters were the sole individuals murdered that day, including Ashli Babbitt, who may have been the victim of a bad shot by a Capitol cop—one whose name authorities strained to keep from the public—with a history of misconduct;
  • That protesters were allegedly subjected to police brutality;
  • That federal government informants were on the ground, and agent provocateurs may well have been too;
  • That Ray Epps was captured egging people on to storm the Capitol, yet curiously never prosecuted and feted by the January 6 Committee;
  • That authorities violated civil liberties in pursuing January 6 suspects;
  • That Capitol riot defendants have faced a double standard in justice relative to progressive activists who raged during the Antifa-BLM 2020 riots—including facing abuse in allegedly unjustified pretrial detention stints; and
  • That the government and media have covered much of this up.

If Tucker is as unhinged a conspiracist as his detractors claim, shouldn't lawmakers welcome his January 6 footage review? Wouldn't it be self-evidently discrediting, in that case?

Presumably, Democrats think Carlson will cherry-pick clips to present a counter-narrative that undermines their own. And Carlson has teased that what his team has seen thus far does meaningfully challenge Democrats' preferred narrative.

For the sake of argument, let's assume the Fox News host is operating in the worst possible faith.

Could it really be any worse than the January 6 Committee itself—an arguably unconstitutional congressional committee and one certainly violative of congressional rules, run by zealous Democratic partisans and MAGA-haters hell-bent on smearing half the country as domestic terrorists, that itself cherry-picked clips to make that very case, in proceedings literally stage-managed by a TV executive?

So even when seen in the absolute worst possible light, giving Carlson the first crack at the footage is tit-for-tat.

And Tucker is not alone. It seems January 6 defendants themselves will also get access to relevant footage. This is just—it's something, again, that Democrats of a bygone era would have welcomed with open arms. Whatever one thinks of the personal conduct of these individuals—and nearly all conservatives and Trump supporters have repeatedly condemned the criminal acts and violence of that day—shouldn't they have a right to see all the evidence in their legal cases?

Releasing the footage is also in the public interest. A new poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly agree: Some 80% of likely voters across the political spectrum want to see the unreleased January 6 tapes.

We deserve clarity on what happened that day—clarity on the rioters' conduct and the Capitol Police's conduct alike; what role, if any, federal government assets played; and the nature and extent of the security lapses.

Release the tapes.

Let the truth contained in them prevail.

Ben Weingarten is editor at large for RealClearInvestigations. He also contributes to The Federalist, the New York Post, The Epoch Times, and other publications. Subscribe to his newsletter at weingarten.substack.com, and follow him on Twitter: @bhweingarten.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.