- THE HILL - REBECCA BEITSCH & EMILY BROOKS - MAR 12, 2023 -
Fox News host Tucker Carlson promised never-before-seen footage of the Jan. 6 riot that would reveal new details and alter public perceptions of the Capitol breach. But in his first shows dedicated to the topic, he largely came up short in delivering smoking guns.
Carlson gained access to some 44,000 hours of the attack by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a move that was opposed by former members of the Jan. 6 committee and alarmed Capitol Police who said it had remained unaired due to security concerns.
Carlson featured footage of Trump supporters milling about the Capitol, exploring the building after rioters had smashed windows and forced their way in.
“The video record does not support the claim that Jan. 6 was an insurrection. In fact, it demolishes that claim,” Carlson said on the opening night of his program.
“It doesn’t answer every question from Jan. 6, far from it. But it does prove beyond doubt the Democrats in Congress, assisted by [former Illinois Republican Rep.] Adam Kinzinger and [former Wyoming GOP Rep.] Liz Cheney, lied about what happened that day. They are liars. That is conclusive,” he added.
But Carlson excluded key details in his report, recasting the roles played by various people and diminishing the violence of a day that led to multiple deaths.
Here’s a look at some key parts of the programming.
Disputing Ray Epps timeline
Carlson’s report included security footage centered on Ray Epps, a man who was pictured in a Jan. 5 video telling a crowd to go into the Capitol.
This spurred numerous theories that he was an undercover agent or informant attempting to provoke the Capitol breach.
Carlson nodded to that theory on his show.
“For more than two years we have wondered why some in the crowd that day who seem to be inciting violence were never indicted for it,” Carlson said. “We assumed these were federal agents of some sort. We still assume that.”
In making that case, Carlson did reveal a new detail about Epps’s timeline on Jan. 6.
In a January 2022 interview with the Jan. 6 select committee, Epps talked about a 2:12 p.m. text message to his nephew: “I was in the front with a few others. I also orchestrated it,” Epps texted, later telling the committee that he meant he had helped get people to the Capitol.
Epps told the committee that when he sent that 2:12 p.m. text message, he would have been on his way back to his hotel room.
But Carlson showed security footage that he said pinpointed Epps on the Capitol grounds half an hour later.
“He lied to investigators. The Jan. 6 committee likely knew this, too. Democrats had access to the same tape, yet they defended Ray Epps,” Carlson said on his show.
Epps told the committee that he was not acting on behalf of any government agency when he was in D.C. — contrary to the theories that he was an undercover FBI agent or informant.
He also said he suspected that he had not been charged by the Department of Justice in connection with Jan. 6 because more videos show he was “trying to stop the violence, trying to keep people from getting themselves in more trouble.”
Separately, Jan. 6 defendant Ryan Samsel — whom Epps was taped whispering to moments before Samsel moved forward toward police in one of the first confrontations of the riot — told the FBI that Epps had told him to “relax,” The New York Times reported.