House Speaker Mike Johnson declared he will make publicly available all Capitol Hill security footage from January 6, 2021, that does not contain sensitive information in an attempt to appease his right-wing supporters.
Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida has spearheaded the effort to force party leadership, starting with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to make the recordings public. Other Republicans who have joined the movement include Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Chip Roy of Texas.
Johnson made this move in an attempt to win over the group’s support following his use of a stopgap bill to keep the government operating.
“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 Louisiana Republican stated he expected the remaining footage “will be posted over the next several months in waves,” after the first segment was made public on Friday.
Johnson came under fire from the top Democrat on the committee that is in charge of keeping the video private for disclosing the security footage.
“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.”