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House Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will publicly release all Capitol Hill security footage from January 6, 2021, that does not contain sensitive information, in a move to please his right-wing members.
GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has led the charge in pushing party leadership – beginning with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy – to release the recordings, but others have jumped on the bandwagon including Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Chip Roy of Texas.
Johnson’s move comes as he seeks to curry favor with the group after using a stop-gap bill to keep the government open.
“When I ran for Speaker, I promised to make accessible to the American people the 44,000 hours of video from Capitol Hill security taken on January 6, 2021,” Johnson said in a statement. “Truth and transparency are critical. Today, we will begin immediately posting video on a public website and move as quickly as possible to add to the website nearly all of the footage, more than 40,000 hours. In the meantime, a public viewing room will ensure that every citizen can view every minute of the videos uncensored.”
The first tranche of the footage was posted on Friday and the Louisiana Republican said he anticipates the rest “will be posted over the next several months in waves.”
The top Democrat on the panel that maintains custody of the video criticized Johnson for making the security footage public.
“It is unconscionable that one of Speaker Johnson’s first official acts as steward of the institution is to endanger his colleagues, staff, visitors, and our country by allowing virtually unfettered access to sensitive Capitol security footage,” New York Rep. Joseph Morelle, who sits on the Committee on House Administration, said. “That he is doing so over the strenuous objections of the security professionals within the Capitol Police is outrageous. This is not transparency, this is dangerous and irresponsible.”
This story has been updated with addition information.
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