Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee is demanding an investigation into the defunct House January 6 committee, accusing former and current lawmakers who served on the committee of purposely concealing certain footage from the Capitol riots. Lee’s remarks came after House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., began releasing over 40,000 hours of footage captured at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, when protesters breached the halls of Congress in response to the 2020 election results.
In a series of posts on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Lee questioned the integrity of former Republican representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, highlighting the release of the footage from January 6. Lee suggested that Cheney and Kinzinger, who he claims “helped hide” the tapes, were too focused on leaking text messages of Republicans they wanted to defeat rather than addressing the footage itself. He shared a video purportedly showing Capitol police officers facilitating the movement of protesters through the building on that day.
Lee further criticized the overall committee and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who appointed the select committee to investigate the events of January 6. Lee questioned how much footage and other records the committee deliberately lost or destroyed based on the evidence they allegedly suppressed. In response to a video shared by Cheney showing clashes between protesters and Capitol police, Lee dismissed it as repetitive and accused her of deliberately hiding other footage that he finds upsetting.
In addition, Lee raised concerns about the funding of the committee, claiming that taxpayer dollars were used for a “sham” investigation. He highlighted a released clip showing an officer inside the Capitol on January 6 apparently releasing a protester without restraints, who then gave a fist bump to another nearby officer. Lee expressed surprise at this behavior, stating he had never witnessed such actions before.
House Speaker Johnson, in a statement, announced the release of the remaining footage from January 6, stating his commitment to truth and transparency. He promised to make the 44,000 hours of video accessible to the American people, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media, allowing them to form their own interpretations. Johnson noted that some sensitive security information and blurred faces would be withheld to protect the building and individuals from potential retaliation.
Approximately 5% of the footage is expected to be held back due to security concerns, and the release will be gradual over time. The House Administration Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight is overseeing the public release of the footage.