According to a report by Newsweek on Saturday, November 18, 2023, former GOP congresswoman Liz Cheney took to social media on Friday to react to the news that House Speaker Mike Johnson would be releasing thousands of hours of security footage from the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
Johnson, a Louisiana Republican who was elected to the speakership after Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the role last month, announced on Friday that his office would be releasing the complete archive of Capitol riot security footage, roughly 44,000 hours in total, after releasing an initial batch of footage totaling 90 hours.
He had previously promised to release the footage during his run for the office of speaker.
Republicans, particularly supporters of former President Donald Trump aligned with the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement, have long called for the release of the footage, claiming the complete archive would confirm their narrative of January 6, that it was, in the words of GOP Representative Andrew Clyde, “a normal tourist visit” and not a violent storming of the Capitol building in response to Trump’s 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
Cheney’s response to Johnson’s announcement was swift and pointed. She took to social media to express her views on the matter, a move that was both unexpected and notable.
Cheney, who has been a vocal critic of Trump and his supporters, has been at odds with many in her party over her stance on the Capitol riot and its aftermath.
Many Republicans outside of that group, including Democrats and moderate Republicans, have vehemently disagreed with this narrative, with eyewitness accounts and video evidence refuting the notion that January 6 was a peaceful day.
Former Wyoming at-large representative Cheney has been one of the most vocal Republicans opposing Trump; he was a member of the bipartisan House select committee that conducted a thorough investigation into the Capitol disturbance.
In December 2022, the select committee released an 845-page report in which they recommended that Trump be charged with a crime and held him directly accountable for the incident.
Following Johnson’s declaration on Friday, Cheney posted a film of previously accessible footage from that day that had been put together by The New York Times on X, the former name of Twitter.
The video shows protesters fighting back against Capitol police and security personnel, throwing pepper spray at them, beating them with flags and other long objects, and breaking through doors.
“Here’s some January 6th video for you,” Cheney wrote.
This was not the first time that Cheney and Johnson had argued in recent days over remarks Cheney had made about the former president.
She issued a sharp criticism on Wednesday in response to the House Speaker’s suggestion that he thinks Trump was taken in by his fabrications about massive voting fraud in the 2020 election.
“Yesterday, Speaker Johnson suggested Trump could ignore rulings by 61 courts & defy our Constitution because Trump supposedly ‘believed’ he won,” the former congresswoman wrote on X.
“Mike knows the election was not stolen and that a President who defies the rulings of our courts & attempts to seize power is a tyrant.”
In August, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Trump on four charges related to the uprising: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.
Trump, who is still the front-runner for the GOP presidential candidacy in 2024, entered a not-guilty plea and said that the investigation against him was politically motivated.
The release of the footage is seen by many as a pivotal moment in the ongoing investigation into the events of January 6.
The footage, which has been closely guarded since the riot, is expected to provide a more comprehensive picture of what transpired on that fateful day.
Johnson’s decision to release the footage is a significant departure from his predecessor’s stance on the matter.
McCarthy, who was ousted from the speakership last month, had been reluctant to release the footage, citing concerns over privacy and national security.
Johnson, however, has taken a different approach, arguing that transparency is crucial in ensuring accountability for the events of January 6.
Cheney’s response to Johnson’s announcement emphasizes the deep divisions within the Republican party over the Capitol riot and its aftermath.
While many Republicans, particularly those aligned with the MAGA movement, view the release of the footage as a vindication of their narrative, others, like Cheney, see it as a necessary step in holding those responsible for the riot accountable.
As the footage is released and analyzed, it is likely that the debate over the events of January 6 will continue to rage on.