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House GOP ignored Capitol Police requests to review Jan. 6 public footage, lawyer says

The ministry is generally loath to appear at odds with House leaders in particular, as it depends on the majority party for its budget and is charged with protecting its members.

Last month, Republicans began asking for the same footage the Jan. 6 select committee had access to. Those requests came first from Tim Monahan — who is also a top aide to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and as staff director for the House Administration Committee — and then Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis. ), the chairman of this panel, which has jurisdiction over Capitol security.

Within days, DiBiase said, Capitol Police installed three terminals in a House office building to provide access to the footage. And DiBiase said he also provided four hard drives he received from the Democratic-led panel on January 6 after completing its work.

“At no time was I or anyone else from the Capitol Police informed that anyone other than the personnel of [the House Administration Committee] would review the camera footage,” DiBiase said.

Later last month, media reported that McCarthy had granted access to the footage to Carlson’s producers. DiBiase said he later learned that “Tucker Carlson Show staff were allowed to view whatever footage they wanted under the supervision of the staff at [the House Administration Committee] but that no footage had been physically delivered to the show.

A week later, Monahan requested a list of Capitol police cameras deemed “sensitive” because they include details of evacuation routes or locations such as intelligence committee facilities.

“We worked with Capitol Police in advance to identify any security-sensitive footage and ensured it was not released,” McCarthy spokesman Mark Bednar said. “In subsequent conversations, the USCP General Counsel confirmed that the department has concluded that there are no safety issues with what was released.”

A GOP committee aide, when asked about statements in the affidavit, noted that Republicans had asked Capitol police for a list of security-sensitive cameras “to make sure that anything on the list requested by Tucker was approved by the USCP, which we did.”

The aide added that Capitol Police “told us they weren’t concerned about what was posted,” but didn’t immediately respond to follow-up questions about whether that comment came before or after the footage aired on Fox, and whether it applied to both the clip Capitol Police got to review and those they say weren’t.

DiBiase pointed out that in “many conversations” over “several weeks” he informed Monahan that Capitol Police wanted to “review every video footage, whether it was on the sensitive list or not, if it were to be released to the public.” . The Jan. 6 select committee had gone through that process with the department “in all cases,” DiBiase said, as did federal prosecutors pursuing cases against hundreds of Capitol riot defendants.

“Of the many clips shown during the Tucker Carlson show on March 6-7, 2023, I was only shown one clip before it aired, and that clip was on the sensitive list,” he said. he continued. “Given that this clip was substantially similar to a clip used in the impeachment trial and was publicly available, I approved the use of the clip. The other 40 or so clips, which were not on the sensitive list, were never shown to me or anyone else from the Capitol Police.

DiBiase left some key details about his interactions with the House Administration Committee unanswered. For example, he didn’t say if anyone on the panel agreed to his requests to preview the footage.

Notably, DiBiase reported that officials from the House of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after the Jan. 6 attack, who used about 15 clips from Capitol security cameras, did not preview them with the department before releasing them. use in the February 2021 proceedings. These clips included “some of the sensitive list”. The footnote caught the attention of Republicans who pointed to it on Friday as an example of when Democrats had provided “zero consultation.”

Bednar pointed to DiBiase’s reference to impeachment trial footage and said House Republicans took more steps to protect security-sensitive material than impeachment officials.

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a statement earlier this month that he had little control over the footage once it was provided to lawmakers.

Manger himself strongly criticized Carlson and Fox News’ treatment of the footage, saying it downplayed the violence and chaos of Jan. 6 and portrayed the actions of Capitol Police officers in a “misleading” and “offensive” light. “.

DiBiase’s statement came in the case of William Pope, a self-represented Jan. 6 defendant who decided to publicly release a trove of Jan. 6 security footage. Several other defendants on Jan. 6 cited Carlson’s access to the trove of images in their own pending cases and said they intended to seek access. But, DiBiase noted in the affidavit, while administration staff said last week that no footage was shown to a defendant or defense attorney, Capitol police received additional requests to review images.

McCarthy’s decision to release the footage sparked weeks of questions for House Republicans. It’s also just the beginning of GOP lawmakers’ work to reinvigorate the attack, with the administration committee currently reviewing the work of the select committee from the previous Jan. 6 and vowing to investigate Capitol security decisions until further notice. at the day. Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are planning a trip to visit those jailed in connection with Jan. 6.

McCarthy defended his decision to give access to the footage to Carlson, who falsely described the attack as non-violent. The chairman and members of the House Administration Committee have pledged to distribute the footage more widely.

“I think by getting all of this out to the American public, you can see the truth, see exactly what happened that day, and everyone can have exactly the same access,” McCarthy told reporters recently. “My intention is to spread it to everyone.”

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