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Media, defendants to get access to Capitol video from Jan. 6 attack

House policy comes months after McCarthy shared videos with Fox News

A video of rioters chanting "hang Mike Pence" is played during the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing on June 16, 2022.
A video of rioters chanting "hang Mike Pence" is played during the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing on June 16, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

News outlets and Jan. 6 defendants are among those who will be able to view footage of the 2021 Capitol attack, according to a new policy released Friday by the House Administration Committee.

The policy will allow qualified individuals to view footage using terminals overseen by the committee, which became the steward of Jan. 6-related materials in the 118th Congress according to Republican House rules. 

Starting this month, members of the media, personnel from select nonprofit organizations, those charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and people injured on that day will be able to request access. Recording of materials will be prohibited and access will be subject to time restrictions, according to a statement from Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga, whose Oversight Subcommittee is spearheading the effort.

“House Republicans are continuing to deliver on our promise to bring transparency and accountability to the People’s House by increasing access to security footage of the U.S. Capitol from January 5th and 6th, 2021,” Loudermilk said. “This announcement stands in stark contrast to the previous Democrat leadership, who blocked access to the footage and only showed carefully edited clips to the public.”’

The policy comes months after a coalition of news outlets demanded access to the footage following reports in February that Speaker Kevin McCarthy supplied then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson with tens of thousands of hours of security footage from the 2021 attack. 

House Democrats panned McCarthy’s decision at the time. Carlson, meanwhile, used the footage in segments downplaying the severity of the riot. McCarthy said at the time that he favored making the records public, while also criticizing the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack.

“I think the American public should actually see all what happened, instead of a report that’s written for a political basis,” McCarthy said at a news conference. 

House Administration Republicans have endeavored to reexamine the events of Jan. 6. Loudermilk, who was investigated by the select committee for allegedly leading a reconnaissance tour the day before the riot, released an initial batch of records in March that he said cleared him of any wrongdoing. 

In August, Loudermilk told Fox News that the select committee had not turned over all Jan. 6-related documents. The Administration Committee is missing certain transcripts, taped depositions and other information relating to how the select committee investigated law enforcement’s response to the attack, Loudermilk said.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chaired the select committee, defended its record-keeping in a July 7 letter to Loudermilk, first obtained by Fox News.

“Consistent with guidance from the Office of the Clerk and other authorities, the Select Committee did not archive temporary committee records that were not elevated by the Committee’s actions, such as use in hearings or official publications, or those that did not further its investigative activities,” Thompson wrote.

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