House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is poised to give special access to security footage of the January 6 insurrection to a far-right personality who accused a police officer injured during the attack of being a “crisis actor,” and who has depicted the insurrectionists as patriotic Americans who were victimized by police brutality.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a close ally of McCarthy, announced Wednesday on Twitter that the Republican speaker would provide the video footage to Julie Kelly, a writer at the right-wing site American Greatness. (Also involved here is John Solomon, a discredited right-wing media figure who spread political smears during Donald Trump’s first impeachment, and who is now working on Trump’s behalf in another scandal involving the disgraced former president’s mishandling of classified documents.)
Kelly further confirmed the news in her own tweet, thanking both Greene and McCarthy.
In one recent column, Kelly promoted Greene’s motion to impeach U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, who Kelly has also attacked in her writings, for prosecuting January 6 defendants. In another column, Kelly denounced the sentences for seditious conspiracy by members of the Oath Keepers.
“They traveled to the nation’s capital to protest an election that by every measure was rigged to favor Joe Biden,” Kelly wrote, further describing Graves and the judge in the case as “arrogant, unaccountable apparatchiks of a bloodthirsty regime hellbent on crushing political dissent in America.”
Kelly has a long history of promoting unhinged conspiracy theories and election denial, including baseless accusations smearing police officers who were attacked on January 6, 2021.
Kelly has falsely claimed that a majority of Americans “don't think that Joe Biden legitimately won the election in 2020,” and that investigations of January 6 are a means to “silence political dissent.”
Kelly claimed that the left would “round up every single American who voted for Donald Trump” if they could.
Kelly has accused the FBI of secretly being behind the explosives left near the Democratic and Republican National Committee headquarters the night before January 6, 2021, which she called “this pipe bomb hoax,” further adding, “It doesn't defy reality to think that this agency was deeply involved in creating all of these narratives about January 6.”
During her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2022, Kelly accused President Joe Biden of presiding over a dictatorial regime and acting worse than Russian President Vladimir Putin in the prosecution of January 6 defendants.
In an interview with former Trump adviser and January 6 provocateur Steve Bannon, Kelly claimed: “January 6, 2021, was probably the biggest instance of police brutality that this country has seen since the Civil Rights Movement.”
During the same interview, Kelly suggested that police officers who took their own lives after serving at the Capitol on January 6 did so out of shame at the violence committed against Trump supporters:
This latest move is remarkably similar to when McCarthy allowed then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson — also a close ally of Kelly, who appeared frequently on his show — exclusive access to security footage of the Capitol attack. Carlson then produced a propaganda special (which Kelly endorsed) that cherry-picked security footage in an effort to depict the insurrection as a peaceful event. In fact, at least 140 police officers were injured that day and more than 1,000 arrests have been made, but Carlson’s narrative was further embraced throughout right-wing media and even by more senior figures at Fox News.
Previously, a consortium of legitimate news organizations that had long sought these videos requested that McCarthy grant them access to the footage he’d provided to Carlson and now to Kelly. Those same media organizations should renew their calls that McCarthy provide equal public access to the videos, which right-wing apologists have used in their long campaign to rewrite the history of the insurrection.