Tucker Carlson ripped by Capitol Police, GOP senators for mischaracterizing Jan. 6 - POLITICO
Category: News & PoliticsVia: jbb • 3 weeks ago • 6 comments
Tucker Carlson ripped by Capitol Police, GOP senators for mischaracterizing Jan. 6
"It was not peaceful. It was an abomination," Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said as the Hill's police chief slammed the Fox News host for falsely portraying the attack.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy is certain to face fresh questions about his decision to grant Tucker Carlson's show sole access to footage captured by Capitol security cameras on Jan. 6, 2021. | Jason Koerner/Getty Images
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger on Tuesday ripped Fox News and host Tucker Carlson for airing an "offensive and misleading" portrayal of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Manger wrote in an internal message to officers that Carlson's Monday night primetime program "conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video" to incorrectly portray the violent assault as more akin to a peaceful protest. He added that Carlson's "commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments."
It's an unusually blunt statement from Manger, who has labored keep his department away from political conflagrations. And the pushback could easily put the chief at odds with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had granted Carlson unfettered access to internal footage related to the riot. But Manger wasn't alone in his criticisms — a number of Republican senators said they were, at the very least, troubled by Carlson's depiction.
"Anybody that trespassed into the United States Capitol, you know, whether they did peacefully … did it illegally," Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said. "I think that it's unfortunate that [Carlson] is the exclusive holder of the tape recording. I just think it's the kind of thing that should be made available to everybody at the same time, so as to not have a political angle to it."
Asked about the portrayal of Jan. 6 on Carlson's show, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) described the day as a violent attack and said any effort to "normalize that behavior is dangerous and disgusting."
"I was here. It was not peaceful. It was an abomination," added Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) "You're entitled to believe what you want in America, but you can't resort to violence to try to convince others of your point of view."
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held up Manger's letter during his weekly briefing with reporters, saying that he would "associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief of the Capitol Police about what happened on January 6th."
A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on Carlson's use of the Jan. 6 footage.
While House Republicans aren't set to return to the Capitol until Tuesday evening, McCarthy is certain to face fresh questions about his decision to grant Carlson's show sole access to 41,000 hours of footage captured by Capitol security cameras on Jan. 6, 2021, when Donald Trump supporters overran the building in an attempt to disrupt lawmakers' certification of Trump's loss.
Capitol Police had previously turned over about 14,000 hours of footage — capturing events between noon and 8 p.m. on that day — to the FBI, which shared it with Jan. 6 defendants as part of criminal proceedings.
While dozens of hours of footage have emerged in public court filings, the bulk of it has remained under seal, and the Hill's police force has warned that wide release of the footage could expose security vulnerabilities in the Capitol complex. McCarthy has indicated he hopes to publicly release large amounts of the video files, with some exceptions to protect the security of the campus.
Several Senate Republicans, including Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Kennedy, said Tuesday most of the footage should simply be made public.
Attorney General Merrick Garland declined to comment directly on Carlson's report during a Tuesday press conference at Justice Department headquarters, but said the facts about the Capitol riot are well-established.
"Over 100 officers were assaulted on that day, five officers died. We have charged more than 1,000 people with their crimes on that day and more than 500 have already been convicted," the attorney general added. "I think it's very clear what happened on Jan. 6."
McCarthy's decision to share the footage with Carlson has already roiled some of the ongoing prosecutions of Jan. 6 defendants, several of whom have demanded delays in their criminal proceedings to review the voluminous materials. An attorney for a member of the Proud Boys, currently on trial for alleged seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6, said he intends to move for a mistrial as a result of the new footage.
A McCarthy spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
On his Monday night show, Carlson focused particularly on video of Capitol Police officers calmly accompanying Jacob Chansley — known as the "QAnon Shaman" for the garb and mannerisms he adopted on the day of the attack — through the halls.
Carlson inaccurately stated on-air that Chansley's entrance to the Capitol remained mysterious, omitting footage showing Chansley inside the Senate chamber scrawling a menacing note to then-Vice President Mike Pence, who had declined then-President Trump's calls for Pence to single-handedly overturn the election results. Chansley pleaded guilty in September 2021 to obstructing Congress' proceedings and was sentenced to 41 months in prison.
Manger, in his note to officers, emphasized that Carlson never reached out for context about the officers' actions.
"One false allegation is that our officers helped the rioters and acted as 'tour guides.' This is outrageous and false," Manger wrote. "The Department stands by the officers in the video that was shown last night. I don't have to remind you how outnumbered our officers were on January 6. Those officers did their best to use de-escalation tactics to try to talk to rioters into getting each other to leave the building."
Manger also took particular issue with what he said was a "disturbing" suggestion by Carlson that the late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick — who died of strokes on Jan. 7, 2021 — did not die because of anything that occurred the day before. Sicknick had been involved in some intense clashes with rioters and was assaulted with chemical spray in the early afternoon of the siege.
A medical examiner later concluded that Sicknick died of natural causes but suggested the stress caused by the riot could have been a contributor.
"The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day," Manger wrote.
Daniella Diaz, Nancy Vu, Josh Gerstein and Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.
The protest was mostly peaceful....except for the handful of rowdies out of a crowd of thousands.
Over a thousand have been charged. So much for MOSTLY peaceful.
LOL, Republican senators are saying something quite different and they were actually there when it happened and millions watched it on TV.
Perhaps believing the liars at Fox isn't a good thing.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he sided with Capitol Police Chief Manger’s account of events, not Tucker Carlson's.
Right. I'm sure that's how the soldiers behind the frontline thought of it when they were storming castles...
"Well see here, ninety percent of our army didn't break down your castle wall and gate, that was the front line. We just charged in after the gates were broken so we were 'mostly peaceful'."...
I take it you also feel that the only people who should be held responsible for looting during riots are those who actually broke through the windows and doors of the stores and shops, those who 'peacefully' walked in after the doors and windows were smashed shouldn't be charged, right?