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Capitol Police weren't told House GOP would give Jan. 6 video to Fox News, lawyer says

Trump supporters clashed with police and security forces as they stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Brent Stirton
/
Getty Images
Trump supporters clashed with police and security forces as they stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

A new court filing from the U.S. Capitol Police's top lawyer claims the majority of the U.S. Capitol surveillance footage of the Jan. 6 attack that recently aired on Fox News was done without the approval of Capitol Police.

"Of the numerous clips shown during the Tucker Carlson show on March 6 and 7, 2023, I was shown only one clip before it aired," said Thomas DiBiase, who has been general counsel for the Capitol Police since August of 2020. In that role, he authorizes the release of camera footage from surveillance on the Capitol grounds.

DiBiase's six-page declaration was filed Friday as part of a criminal case related to the Jan. 6 attack and was first reported by Politico.

The clip that he viewed was "substantially similar" to a clip that was used during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, DiBiase said. He approved its use given the similarities between the two. He said the other approximately 40 clips that aired on Tucker Carlson's show "were never shown to me nor anyone else from the Capitol Police."

DiBiase added that Capitol Police first learned that access to footage of the attack on the Capitol had been granted to members of the Tucker Carlson show via a media report.

"That access was not previewed with the Capitol Police nor was the Capitol Police informed before that access was granted," he said.

He wrote he was informed that staff from the Fox News show were allowed to view footage while supervised by staff of the Committee of House Administration, but that no footage had been physically given to the show.

"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," he added, referring to surveillance footage that includes sensitive information like evacuation routes.

Carlson has been criticized for selectively airing footage to create a false narrative about the events of Jan. 6. He has previously claimed his show had checked with Capitol Police before airing the footage.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger blasted Carlson's depiction of the attack in a memo to his rank-and-file, which was obtained by NPR. He wrote Carlson shared "outrageous and false" allegations that officers acted as "tour guides" the day of the attack and said the program "cherry-picked from the calmer moments" of the day.

On Friday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he hadn't read the court filing and said House Republicans did work with Capitol Police to designate which video clips contained sensitive security information.

"We asked the Capitol Police for any clips that would give them a problem, in any area," he told reporters. "They brought up one."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.