US Senator Schumer condemns Speaker McCarthy for supplying Jan.6 videos to Fox


By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday accused House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy of helping Fox News stoke conspiracy theories by providing videos used by the cable network to portray the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters as peaceful.

But McCarthy, who told reporters he had not seen the Fox News presentation, said he had no regrets about his decision to release the footage, adding that it was done in the interests of transparency.

On Monday, Fox’s right-wing commentator Tucker Carlson used some of the security videos, showing protesters walking through the Capitol, to argue that they were merely “sightseers”.

Carlson said only a small number of those who illegally entered the Capitol as Congress was attempting to formally certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win were “hooligans”, but the overwhelming majority were not.


“They were peaceful, they were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionists, they were sightseers,” Carlson said.

In a Senate speech, Schumer condemned the broadcast and urged the cable network to cancel any follow-up segment.

The Senate Democratic leader called Carlson’s conduct “a dangerous, unforgivable attempt to destabilize our democracy and rewrite the history of the worst attack on our Constitution since the Civil War”. He added that McCarthy was “every bit as culpable as Mr. Carlson” for providing the footage.

“To say January 6 was not violent, is a lie, a lie, pure and simple,” Schumer said.

A Fox News spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

“Each person can come up with their own conclusion,” McCarthy later told reporters. “I think the fairest way to do it … is allow all the transparency so everybody can see, so January 6 never happens again.”

Schumer later tweeted that he had been invited onto Carlson’s show and said he would agree to appear “after Tucker Carlson admits to his viewers live on air that he has been lying to them”.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment on McCarthy’s decision to supply the videos. However he told reporters that he totally agreed with criticisms made by U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger.

Those criticisms came in an internal memo Manger wrote, according to a source on Capitol Hill.

The source said the memo described Carlson’s commentary as being “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the Jan. 6 attack”.

Manger was quoted as saying the Fox News report “cherry-picked from the calmer moments” of that day and failed to portray the “chaos and violence”.

“It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here in the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said.

In the broadcast, Carlson accused the House select committee that has investigated the riot and the events leading up to it of lying and concealing videos that he said showed peaceful protesters.

Carlson said the video record, which has been denied to other news organizations including Reuters, “demolishes” the claim that an insurrection was attempted by supporters of former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

Five people including a police officer died during or shortly after the riot and more than 140 police officers were injured. Then-Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress and staff ran for their lives amid the chaos.

Earlier in the day of Jan. 6, Trump delivered a fiery speech near the White House in which he urged his supporters to go to the Capitol to protest the November 2020 election outcome, claiming widespread voter fraud.

No such fraud has been documented and Trump, who is running for president in 2024, continues to falsely repeat the charge.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Katharine Jackson; Additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)