Speaker Johnson Praised for Releasing Jan. 6 Tapes: ‘Important for Americans to Know The Truth’

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) praised House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) for releasing the Jan. 6 tapes.
Speaker Johnson Praised for Releasing Jan. 6 Tapes: ‘Important for Americans to Know The Truth’
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks during a news conference after a weekly Republican conference meeting in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Nov. 14, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said that House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) recent decision to release over 40,000 hours of Jan. 6 Capitol incident footage was a praiseworthy and “important” step in uncovering the truth of what happened that day.

“It’s important for Americans to know the truth,“ Mr. Turner said in an interview on NBC’s ”Meet the Press” when asked whether Mr. Johnson’s decision to release the tapes was a responsible one despite concerns expressed by the Capitol Police that the move could jeopardize security.

“This has been fraught with an unbelievable amount of misinformation and untruths,” Mr. Turner continued, adding, ”When you see the footage yourself, it’s going to give you an understanding of what was there and what occurred that day.”

“Because we’re currently only depending on really partisan descriptions of what happened. Now the American people can see,” he continued, while adding that both members of the Democrat-dominated Jan. 6 Committee and some Republicans had ”cherry-picked” the footage earlier in order to misrepresent what happened that day.

“I think it’s important that the Speaker has taken this step because now people can see the truth,” he added.

Mr. Johnson made waves when he announced several weeks ago that previously undisclosed Jan. 6 Capitol Police security video footage would be made public starting immediately and ramping up in coming months.

The footage shows the Capitol premises during the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when protesters upset by what they saw as a stolen 2020 presidential election made their way into the Capitol, some after battling with police.

However, some of the footage shows people casually walking beside police officers, who appear indifferent and let them saunter along.

People wave flags on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)
People wave flags on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)

Jan. 6 Tapes

Mr. Johnson said in a statement that 40,000 of the 44,000 hours of video from Capitol Hill taken on Jan. 6 would be posted online.
He said that around 5 percent of the footage would be withheld because it contains sensitive security information and that the faces of private citizens captured on video would be blurred out to protect them from retaliation.

“This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement.

“Truth and transparency are critical,” the speaker added.
The Committee on House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight, chaired by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), has posted some of the Jan. 6 footage in an online viewing room.
“The goal of our investigation has been to provide the American people with transparency on what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and this includes all official video from that day,” Mr. Loudermilk said in a statement. “We will continue loading video footage as we conduct our investigation and continue to review footage.”

More videos will be added to the public site on “a rolling basis,” a senior congressional aide told The Epoch Times.

The speaker’s decision to release the footage came amid mounting pressure from the public and Jan. 6 defendants to get access to the security video.

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) earlier this year said he would release Jan. 6 video footage, but that commitment never resulted in the public getting direct access.
Earlier this year, The Epoch Times gained access to the Capitol Police database of nearly 1,700 cameras for Jan. 5 and 6. Based on research done on video terminals on Capitol Hill, the newspaper requested and was given dozens of individual clips that were used in the special report The Jan. 6 Tapes.
The newspaper also used the previously unreleased video for a series of investigative articles on the deaths of Rosanne Boyland and Benjamin Philips and video surveillance of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.

Trump Weighs In

Like Mr. Turner, former President Donald Trump also praised Mr. Johnson for releasing the tapes.

President Trump said that Mr. Johnson showed “courage and fortitude” in his decision to to begin releasing the footage.

“Congratulations to Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson for having the Courage and Fortitude to release all of the J6 Tapes, which will explicitly reveal what really happened on January 6th!” President Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social.

President Trump’s political rivals have sought to portray the events of Jan. 6 as an “insurrection” and in April 2021 the Democrat-controlled House approved a single article of impeachment against the former president, accusing him of “inciting violence against the government of the United States.”

More recently, President Trump’s opponents launched legal efforts in several states to block him from being listed from ballots in the 2024 presidential race on 14th Amendment grounds, seeking to portray him as the instigator of the Jan. 6 incident.

These cases—in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and elsewhere—basically argued that the former president took part in an “insurrection” by giving an impassioned speech on Jan. 6 before the Capitol breach occurred.

President Trump said in his Jan. 6 speech that protesters should “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” though some of his critics have seized on a portion of his remarks where he said “we fight like hell” and “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” as a call for violence.

The former president has, on numerous occasions, denied calling for violent protests while insisting he meant his remarks about fighting like hell metaphorically.