by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 19, 2023) — On Friday evening, the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on House Administration (CHA) began releasing thousands of hours of video footage from January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol as Congress was readying to, or in the process of, certifying or contesting the electoral vote count from the November 3, 2020 presidential election.
The move occurred as a result of newly-minted Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA4) approving the publication of the footage as the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy, had pledged to do but not completed.
While government representatives, including state and federal judges, have deemed the events of Jan. 6 a violent “insurrection” by unruly Trump supporters seeking to overturn the results of the election, at least a portion of the video footage depicts U.S. Capitol Police officers calmly going about their duties within the Capitol that day, including while taking several individuals into custody peacefully.
The initial tranche Subcommittee Chairman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA11) uploaded to the viewing portal consists of five pages, each with ten videos of varying length. The first-page videos, exclusively labeled as “Hall of Columns South Door,” are mainly uneventful, with some, such as the last, showing visitors walking through the hall unimpeded while police, who vastly outnumber them, look on.
One video, lasting nine minutes and 33 seconds, shows police officers approaching entrants to the Capitol who remain at the doorway entering the hall. For this writer, the video stalled at the 1:49 mark.
Subsequently, several consecutive videos played for several seconds and stopped, while another placid scenario stopped at the 4:59 mark and refused to resume.
On page 2, the first “House Wing Door” video, lasting only two minutes and five seconds, shows officers standing on either side of the hallway as visitors walked by individually or in small groups. Police made no effort to engage with them.
According to journalist Julie Kelly, who has extensively researched the events of January 6, attended many of the ensuing trials and obtained some of the footage prior to Friday, “Millions of Americans will now see video of police officers standing by as protesters walked in the building, some exchanging handshakes and fist bumps. Future video releases could shock the public as it reveals numerous instances of police brutality that resulted in the deaths of three individuals that day.”
“…Speaker Johnson’s next move must be the formation of a separate January 6 committee,” Kelly continued in her November 18 Substack column, in contrast to the House “Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack at the United States Capitol” spearheaded by Democrats, disbanded after the 2022 midterm elections resulting in a Republican majority in the House.
The committee made four criminal referrals of Trump to the Justice Department, which followed up with the appointment of a special counsel who indicted Trump in August for allegedly spreading “false claims” about the outcome of the 2020 election, among other charges.
“Tapes only tell a small part of the story; more must be revealed to expose the full truth, redeem those who have been destroyed by the cruel weaponization of the four-hour disturbance, and hold the architects of the Jan 6 fraud accountable,” Kelly wrote.
As of September 12, more than 1,100 people were arrested, charged and hundreds convicted of various misdemeanors and felonies. Many have reportedly been held in austere conditions without trial not normally applied under such circumstances.
Kelly shared her reaction to the release of the recordings on Saturday’s “War Room” hosted by Steve Bannon.
“After 11 months in power, finally Mike Johnson gives us the footage,” Bannon began the interview.
Opining it to have been a “big win,” Kelly responded that in May 2021, she discovered “at least 14,000 hours of security footage had been put under protective orders” at the same time court hearings began for Jan. 6 defendants. “…To your point, all the right people are melting down,…” she observed. “This is just the start. The American people have not seen the footage…and that is why these people are freaking out, and this is just the beginning of the breaking of the dam.”
“Police brutality” will surface, she said, which led to confrontations between protesters and Capitol Police.
On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) called for an investigation of the January 6 committee, which Loudermilk said failed to turn over a portion of its records to the new House Republican leadership.
On her Substack, Kelly enumerated six areas of inquiry she believes House Republicans should explore, facilitated by the formation of a new January 6 committee and including the role of the FBI; “the J6 committee coverup”; the Justice Department’s actions and charging decisions; the claims of four Capitol Police officers, who Kelly said “lied” to Congress and in court about the events that day; “police brutality” and federal judges’ behavior on the bench and ultimate sentencing of Jan. 6 defendants.