Monday, March 4, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson made the decision to release thousands of hours of Capitol security footage from the Jan. 6, 2021 attack. This has led to a push by Republican lawmakers and far-right activists to rewrite the history of the attack and defend the pro-Trump rioters.

The move was an attempt to gain the support of hard-right Republican lawmakers for working with Democrats to keep the government funded. However, it has since been used to spread false claims and conspiracy theories about the events of that day.

For example, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene shared misinformation claiming that a rioter was holding a law enforcement badge in his hand, suggesting that the attack was an inside job. However, the item in the man’s hand appeared to be a vape pen, and he was later convicted at a public trial of multiple federal charges.

Other politicians and public figures have also used the videos to push false narratives about the events of Jan. 6, 2021. This includes selective use of clips focusing on peaceful moments to cast doubt on what occurred that day.

Mr. Johnson has begun to release roughly 40,000 hours of video footage fulfilling a promise he made to hard-right lawmakers to win their support. He has said that more than 95 percent of the footage – except parts deemed a security risk – would be posted online in stages over the next several months.

The videos show a range of scenes during the attack, from peaceful protest to violent incidents. Some have cited specific clips to suggest that Jan. 6 was an “inside job.” These false narratives, spread by high-profile figures, have led to concerns about threats, especially towards public officials.

The Justice Department has charged over 1,200 people in connection with the attack, showing a wide range of culpability, from serious crimes to mere trespassing. Despite efforts to exonerate the rioters, there is irrefutable video evidence of the violent events that unfolded on that day.

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