WASHINGTON — A coalition of nine media companies, including CNN, The New York Times and Politico, is suing for copies of surveillance video of the riot on Capitol Hill that President Kevin McCarthy released exclusively to Fox News.
In the demandfiled Wednesday in the US District Court in Washington, the media companies demanded that the Justice Department’s US Attorneys Office and the FBI provide copies of the Jan. 6 footage «promptly.» , which they characterized as «the most significant assault on the Capitol.» since the war of 1812″.
Other plaintiffs seeking access to the tapes include Advance Publications, which owns Vogue, GQ and regional newspapers; The Associated Press; ProPublica; CBS; EW Scripps, a major local television network; and Gannett, which owns USA Today and several local newspapers. News outlets say the lawsuit was filed using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which allows the public, including journalists, to request access to federal records unless the information is found. in an exempt category.
McCarthy, a Republican from California, faced pressure to release the video from Donald Trump’s allies in Congress, who have worked to advance the former president’s argument that the attack that day was peaceful. Five people died during or shortly after the riot, and more than 130 police officers were injured that day. Hundreds of participants have been charged with crimes, including some for attacking police.
When McCarthy was fighting to secure the speaking position the previous year, Carlson argued on television that McCarthy should release the January 6 videos to win over enough Republicans. In February, Carlson said that he was given access to some 44,000 hours of security feeds during the attack.
When asked in February when the videos would be released to other outlets and the public, McCarthy said: «As soon as possible.»
Carlson, using videos provided to him by McCarthy, aired segments last month that appeared to portray the Jan. 6 attack as a peaceful gathering and showed protesters calmly walking through the Capitol, rather than violence.
Lawmakers, including Republicans, criticized Carlson’s segments as offensive and misleading. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said McCarthy’s decision «poses serious security risks» for lawmakers and people working on Capitol Hill, warning it could lead to another assault on the Capitol. building.
«It was a mistake, in my opinion, for Fox News to portray this in a way that is completely different from what our top law enforcement official here on Capitol Hill thinks,» Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. , Republican from Kentucky.
News outlets filed a FOIA request days after Carlson announced it had the videos, but have not been notified of the extent of the records DOJ planned to produce or retain within the time limit required by law, the companies said. on your demand.
The media companies added in the filing that the FBI had responded to the FOIA request on March 2, saying it could not identify the records and deliver what the media companies requested.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit on Wednesday, and the FBI declined to comment.
NBC News was among a group of news organizations that previously asked McCarthy to share the images.