“Congratulations to Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson for having the Courage and Fortitude to release all of the J6 Tapes, which will explicitly reveal what really happened on January 6th!” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Friday. A January 6 subcommittee wrote in its 2022 final report that Mr Trump was the “central cause of” the events of the Capitol riot.
Mr Johnson announced the decision earlier on Friday, saying allowing access to the footage “will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials.”
The tapes are available on the Committee of House Administration’s website. Speaker Johnson said “nearly all of the footage” will be added, meaning more than 40,000 hours of tapes of the violent riot. All of the videos are expected to be made available by Monday (20 November).
He also clarified that private citizens’ faces will be blurred to “avoid any persons from being targeted for retaliation.”
The former president joined a number of Republican members of Congress in celebrating Mr Johnson’s latest move.
Roger Stone wrote: “FINALLY.”
Illinois Rep Mary Miller wrote: “The American people have a right to see this footage after the lies they were told by Pelosi’s January 6 Witch Hunt Committee.”
South Carolina Rep Jeff Duncan praised Mr Johnson’s “transparency,” adding that “Americans should be able to see the evidence, or lack thereof, for themselves and make their own decisions.”
The speaker’s decision to release the tapes publicly comes after a series of controversies around releasing the footage. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave some of the tapes to then Fox News host Tucker Carlson, sparking backlash from Democrats.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries denounced the move at the time. He wrote in a letter: “The apparent transfer of video footage represents an egregious security breach that endangers the hardworking women and men of the United States Capitol Police, who valiantly defended our democracy with their lives at risk on that fateful day.”