Fox News Slammed by Capitol Police Chief Over Jan. 6 Video

(Bloomberg) -- A growing divide between Republican leaders in the House and Senate played out in public view Tuesday over Fox News’ controversial airing of security video from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has long aggravated Donald Trump, called Fox’s decision to air select footage it received exclusively from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy a “mistake.” McCarthy, an ally of the former president, stood by his decision.

McConnell on Tuesday brandished a memo from US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, who fired back at Fox News and host Tucker Carlson, calling his decision to selectively air portions of the video he received from McCarthy “offensive” and “misleading.”

“Clearly, the chief of the Capitol Police, in my view, correctly describes what most of us witnessed first-hand on Jan. 6,” McConnell said.

Asked if McCarthy had made a mistake in providing Carlson with the video, McConnell didn’t answer, but added: “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks.”

McCarthy on Tuesday night defended his decision and said that he condemned the riot on Jan. 6.

“Each person can come up with their own conclusion,” McCarthy said. “I just wanted to make sure we had transparency.”

In his memo, Manger describes “an opinion program” that he said had “cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video.”

Carlson began showing the video on his program Monday night.

Manger, who became chief after the insurrection, criticized as “most disturbing” what he called the downplaying of Officer Brian Sicknick’s death a day after the riot.

Carlson broadcast snippets of the footage in a way that downplayed the violence carried out by supporters of then-president Trump as both houses of Congress gathered to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Manger, in the memo, added that “the opinion program never reached out to the department to provide accurate context.”

Carlson showed images of Sicknick walking inside the Capitol, apparently after confronting rioters. “They knew he was not murdered by the mob, but they claimed it anyway,” Carlson said.

He was referring to the House committee that investigated the insurrection, and news reports.

But Manger countered that version. “Had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day,” he wrote.

Sicknick died Jan. 7, 2021, after suffering two strokes, the Washington, DC, chief medical examiner determined. He had been sprayed with a chemical substance outside the Capitol during the early hours of the riot. His family has asserted struggles with the rioters contributed directly to his stroke.

Manger also attacked the way in which the video was used to insinuate that some Capitol Police officers assisted the rioters and acted as if they were “tour guides.” The chief explained that those officers were doing their best that day to use de-escalation tactics to get demonstrators to leave the US Capitol building.

Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chaired the Jan. 6 committee, condemned the release of the security video.

“It is a dereliction of duty for Kevin McCarthy to give Tucker Carlson carte blanche access to sensitive U.S. Capitol security surveillance footage from one of the darkest days in the history of our democracy,” Thompson said in a statement.

And Representative Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, tweeted that Carlson’s “attempt to manipulate the Jan. 6th insurrection as a ‘peaceful gathering’ is a master class in delusional, revisionist history.”

--With assistance from Erik Wasson.

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