Former President Donald Trump praised House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) for “having the courage and fortitude” to begin releasing over 40,000 hours of footage from the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol incident.
The tapes, of which roughly 90 hours have already been released with more expected to come on Monday, show the Capitol premises during the events of Jan. 6, when protesters angered by what they saw as a stolen 2020 presidential election stormed the Capitol.
President Trump’s political rivals have sought to portray the events of Jan. 6 as an “insurrection” and in April 2021 the 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.
President Trump’s legal team has pushed back against the reasoning behind the 14th Amendment cases, arguing that the attempt to block the former president from the ballot are fringe theories and undemocratic.
Judges in three states—Colorado, Michigan, and Minnesota—have now ruled against the plaintiffs who sued to prevent President Trump from appearing on the ballot, with a judge in Colorado being the latest to decide in favor of the former president.
Jan. 6 TapesMr. 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 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.
Beginning on Nov. 20, members of the public will also be able to view footage on terminals in the committee’s offices on Capitol Hill, the source added.
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.