Fox News host Tucker Carlson has generated a political firestorm since releasing edited clips of previously unseen footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol he claims as proof “beyond doubt” that congressional Democrats, along with former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, “lied about what happened that day.”
Carlson’s Monday report has received a visceral response from those who believe the event caused legitimate harm and those who maintain it’s been overblown.
Carlson received the footage exclusively from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, a decision that’s drawn similarly opposite reaction.
Count Wyoming Republican congresswoman Harriet Hageman as a tally in Carlson’s camp.
“Rep. Hageman has consistently supported releasing all of the footage related to Jan. 6 and is happy that Speaker McCarthy has done so,” said Chris Berardi, a spokesman for Hageman.
Hageman also agrees with Carlson’s conclusion that “the Jan. 6 Committee certainly cherry-picked their information,” Berardi said. “And in a stunning admission, the chair of the Jan. 6 Committee stated that he was unaware of any member of the committee actually seeing the footage prior to their partisan final report.”
The Wyoming congresswoman also believes all the video given to Carlson should also be available to the general public, Berardi said.
“No matter the vehicle, the people deserve to know the truth, and I’m confident that under Speaker McCarthy’s leadership they will,” she said.
Former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, who served as vice-chair of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, spent the better part of her last term in office studying footage from the Jan. 6 uprising.
“If @HouseGOP wants new Jan 6 hearings, bring it on,” Cheney tweeted Wednesday in response to Carlson’s report. “Let’s replay every witness & all the evidence from last year. But this time, those members who sought pardons and/or hid from subpoenas should sit on the dais so they can be confronted on live TV with the unassailable evidence.”
Wyoming U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis didn’t respond to Cowboy State Daily requests to comment to Carlson’s Jan. 6 claims.
Virtually no one in Washington, Republican or Democrat, wanted to see this tape released tonight. pic.twitter.com/YfpvaIZTbn— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) March 7, 2023
Carlson claims the unreleased video shows that the conventional media’s accounts of the Jan. 6 attack are lies, proclaiming that while there were some bad apples involved, most of the rioters were peaceful and at the Capitol merely as “sightseers,” not “insurrectionists.”
Even if this is true, the part Carlson fails to explain is how bad those bad actors really were. Some have since been shown to have had legitimate plans to kill lawmakers and had weapons with them to make it happen.
Carlson showed video of various rioters aimlessly walking the halls of the Capitol, taking selfies and curiously looking around.
“The crowd was enormous. A small percentage of them were hooligans,” he said. “They committed vandalism. You’ve seen their pictures again and again. But the overwhelming majority weren’t. They take cheerful selfies, and they smile. They’re not destroying the Capitol. They were peaceful.”
Carlson’s point is that despite the depictions of violence at the Capitol, most of those there weren’t violent. There were some Wyoming residents there that day who did not participate in violence or enter the Capitol, such as Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne and state Sen. Bob Ide, R-Casper.
But Andrew Galloway, who was a Cody resident at the time of the attack but now lives in Tennessee, was criminally charged and pleaded guilty to demonstrating in the Capitol building, admitting to his role in the riot.
What He Didn’t Show
While Carlson claimed his compilation of video clips as proof the Jan. 6 attack was a big lie, he also neglected to show video of police and rioters engaged in hours of violent combat. Two pipe bombs were also planted nearby but were not detonated.
Nearly 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack. About 140 officers were assaulted that day, and 326 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, including 106 assaults that happened with deadly or dangerous weapons. Dozens have since pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement.
Carlson also didn’t mention that everyone who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 did so illegally, entering through smashed out windows that Capitol Police had earlier attempted to prevent entry through.
Also, the reason most of the people chose to be present on Jan. 6 was to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results and transfer of power from former President Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
Court documents include extensive interviews and guilty pleas from people admitting they were there to prevent Biden from taking office and to reinstall Trump as president. But it’s also possible that many didn’t realize they were participating in an insurrection in real time.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, denounced Fox News leadership for airing Carlson’s footage, holding up a letter from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger that accused Carlson’s show of being “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions.”
Barrasso, the No. 3 ranking official in the Senate, is aligned with McConnell on many issues.
When Cowboy State Daily asked Lummis her thoughts about Jan. 6 in a September 2022 interview, she said her memories of that day were “scary.” Lummis was rushed into an underground bunker when the certification of Arizona election ballots was interrupted.
North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer, once a vocal Trump supporter, has consistently denounced the attack. He also did not support Carlson’s narrative.
“To somehow put (Jan. 6) in the same category as a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie,” Cramer said, according to The Washington Post.
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney also weighed in.
“I can’t forecast what Speaker McCarthy was thinking about, but if you’re going to give footage, give it to all the networks, not just one,” said Romney, who voted to convict Trump in the 2021 impeachment trial that stemmed from Jan. 6. “I think it’s a very dangerous thing to do to suggest that attacking the Capitol of the United States is in any way acceptable and is anything other than a serious crime against democracy and against our country.”
Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, said the House Jan. 6 Committee should be investigated and asked why it didn’t place a focus on the bombs that were planted at the Democratic and Republican national committee headquarters the night before the Capitol attack.
He also said, “We don’t want to whitewash January the 6th.”
“I think the Jan. 6 committee had a partisan view of things, and I’d like to know more about what happened that day and the day before,” he added.
In a November 2022 Washington Post story, Cheney was criticized by 15 current and former Jan. 6 Committee staff members for her perceived push to focus the committee’s final report primarily on Trump.
Cheney hasn’t directly responded to Carlson’s comments, but did post on Twitter the day after his show aired.
“One lesson of Jan 6 is this: Trump’s lies, spread on TV & social media, provoked a violent attack on our Capitol,” she said. “No responsible adult, and especially no American pledged to our Constitution, should deny what happened or repeat the same reckless lies.”
Death Of Capitol Police Officer
The death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick has been a point of contention for people who believe Jan. 6 was a heinous event and those who don’t.
Cheney posted on Twitter two days after the riot in 2021 that, “Officer Sicknick was killed defending our Capitol from the violent mob on January 6.”
Carlson showed video of Sicknick walking through the Capitol in seemingly good health after he was allegedly attacked by a violent mob. Sicknick died the day after the riot from natural causes. His family has said the attack he suffered contributed to the stroke he suffered the next day.
Carlson also interviewed former Capitol Officer Tarik Johnson, who said his department was woefully unprepared for the events that happened that day.