Capitol Police general counsel Thomas DiBiase does not sound happy about Tucker Carlson’s segments using footage from Jan. 6 to make the attack on the U.S. Capitol look like a peaceful sightseeing visit or about the process by which Speaker Kevin McCarthy handed that footage over to Carlson. Just one of the clips Carlson aired, DiBiase said, was reviewed by Capitol Police ahead of time. In fact, the Capitol Police only learned that McCarthy was giving Carlson access to the footage through media reports.
This information from DiBiase comes in a six-page document submitted as part of a Jan. 6 criminal case, one of several in which defendants are pushing to get the same access to footage that Carlson got.
RELATED STORY: Kevin McCarthy gave Tucker Carlson Jan. 6 footage. Carlson went big with his lies
He details how, at the request of the House Administration Committee, which has oversight over the Capitol Police, the department installed three terminals for viewing of the footage and provided four hard drives with footage used by the Jan. 6 committee. But “At no time was I nor anyone else from the Capitol Police informed that anyone other than personnel from [the House Administration Committee] would be reviewing the camera footage,”
Once the department learned about Carlson’s access, DiBiase wrote, “During numerous conversations with the Staff Director over several weeks, I emphasized the Capitol Police’s desire to review every footage clip, whether it was on the Sensitive List or not, if it was going to be made public.” And he made clear that this was not some new procedure put in place to stymie Tucker Carlson: “I informed the Staff Director that this was the same process followed by the Select Committee and the prosecutors in all of the criminal cases: that we were shown and had to approve of every clip before it was made public. This was followed in all cases by both the Select Committee and the prosecutors.”
But when Carlson’s footage aired, it turned out that the only clip out of approximately 40 had been cleared with the Capitol Police. That single clip was from a camera on the department’s sensitive list, which includes cameras that potentially show evacuation routes or the location of particularly sensitive infrastructure. It’s kind of a different picture than McCarthy’s insistence before Carlson’s broadcast that he, unlike the Jan. 6 committee, would fully consult with the Capitol Police.
DiBiase does mention in a footnote that the House impeachment managers in the second impeachment of Donald Trump did not clear all footage with the Capitol Police, but does not elaborate on that. It’s the only exception he notes to the department’s tight control of security footage for the Capitol complex, and no doubt it will be the only thing Kevin McCarthy and his fellow Republicans want to talk about if they’re asked to comment on DiBiase’s account.
The strong impression the document leaves is that the Capitol Police feel Republicans, at a minimum, failed to communicate with the department or include it in decision-making about giving Carlson access to the footage, and there’s some sense conveyed that Republicans actively hid their plans from the police, asking for ways to view the footage without saying who would be viewing it, allowing the department to learn the plan through media coverage, and ignoring the department’s repeated requests to review everything slated for public release. And now, thanks to that, the department will be beating back one Jan. 6 criminal defendant after another as they ask why they can’t have what Republicans freely gave to Tucker Carlson.
Judd Legum is the founder and author of Popular Information, an independent newsletter dedicated to accountability journalism. Judd joins Markos and Kerry to talk about the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit against Fox News and the recent revelations of behind-the-scenes deceit practiced by everyone from on-air host Tucker Carlson, to the owner of it all, Rupert Murdoch.
'Bulls*#t,' one Republican senator says of Carlson's depiction of Jan. 6
Proud Boy's lawyer tries to get Jan. 6 case thrown out based on Tucker Carlson's lies