Thursday, September 21, 2023
The tapes tell the same story about Jan. 6
By Jamie Dupree – For The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It has been well over two years since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, and many Republicans are still trying to deflect responsibility away from former President Donald Trump for the violent events of that day.
Some like U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, have long called for the public release of internal security tapes from the Capitol, hinting that those videos held evidence that could absolve rioters of their guilt.
After opening up those tapes to friendly conservative media outlets, Republicans led by U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, are now giving reporters on Capitol Hill a chance to watch.
In six hours over two days, I looked back at the tapes of that day — and it’s not what Greene and others have been advertising.
The tapes tell the same story that we all saw on Jan. 6 — thousands of Trump supporters rioting, breaking windows, prying open doors to get into the Capitol, and relentlessly attacking police inside and outside the building.
Locked away in a room a few blocks from the Capitol, reporters can get 3-hour appointments to access dozens of security cameras — I played as many as 16 cameras at a time on my screen — all running synchronously from Jan. 6.
The tapes only reinforce the notion that Congress narrowly avoided a catastrophe that day. It was not — to use the words of U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens — a ‘normal tourist visit.’
Tourists don’t use flagpoles to jab police officers in the head and chest. Tourists don’t assault cops repeatedly.
The tapes also undercut a popular conservative conspiracy theory about Jan. 6 — that police just waved peaceful demonstrators into the Capitol. That didn’t happen.
The lack of new evidence was obvious at a hearing held by Loudermilk this week with the former head of the Capitol Police, as the Jan. 6 tapes were only mentioned once in passing.
In his testimony, ex-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told how the Pentagon refused to rush reinforcements to the Capitol, even as rioters forced lawmakers to flee from the House and Senate.
“For some reason they wanted to do everything they could to keep National Guard away from the Capitol,” said Sund, who noted that the New Jersey State Police arrived before the military.
Sund again praised the nearly 1,000 D.C. police officers who were sent to help, providing critical support after rioters attacked the Capitol.
Jan. 6 was not a march about tax policy. Jan. 6 was about using violence to keep Donald Trump in office.
And the internal U.S. Capitol tapes show exactly that.
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