Cheney blasts GOP for blurring faces in Jan. 6 tapes: Nothing ‘can change the facts’

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Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Tuesday criticized House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and House Republicans’ decision to blur the faces of those who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in security tapes, arguing it’s an attempt to suggest the tape’s contents “would change the facts of what happened.”

“I think that we’re experiencing a situation where … Speaker Johnson is somehow attempting to suggest that there is something in these tapes that would change the facts of what happened,” Cheney said in an interview with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. “There’s nothing in the tape that can change the facts of what happened that day, can change the violent assault.”

Earlier Tuesday, Johnson announced some of the faces of those who participated in the Jan. 6 riot would be blurred in order to prevent retaliation by the Department of Justice (DOJ). His deputy chief of communications later clarified the blurring would prevent all forms of retaliation and noted the DOJ already has access to the raw footage.

Cheney pushed back on Johnson’s argument, also pointing out that the DOJ already can access the footage.

“We need to make sure, obviously, that we protected security issues at the Capitol, but at this point, what’s happening — I don’t know why [Johnson’s] dragging his feet after having proclaimed he’s going to release them, and he ought to release them,” Cheney said.

House Republicans last month released an initial set of security footage from Jan. 6 online, making it accessible to the public. Johnson said last month when the footage was released that the processing of clips “will involve blurring the faces of private citizens on the yet unreleased tapes to avoid any persons from being targeted for retaliation of any kind.”

The House Administration Oversight Subcommittee was originally expected to publicly release footage requested by media outlets, but following Johnson becoming Speaker after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)’s ouster in October, the committee is now going through all the footage from Jan. 6 and posting as much online as possible.

Cheney served as vice chair of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, where she repeatedly condemned former President Trump’s role in the insurrection and called out her Republican colleagues who continued to support him.

The three-term conservative became one of the most outspoken GOP critics of Trump. She later lost her seat to a Trump-backed challenger, now-Rep. Harriet Hageman (R), in the 2022 Wyoming primaries.

Since leaving Congress, Cheney has remained a staunch critic of both Trump and several members of the GOP party. These criticisms take center stage in her new memoir titled, “Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning,” which was released Tuesday.

In the book, the former lawmaker warns of the risks to democracy that a second term with Trump as president would bring, along with details on the state of the Republican Party, especially in regard to the moments that led up to Jan. 6 and how the party responded.

The Hill reached out to Johnson’s office for comment.

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