After watching the Democratic meltdown, (along with some objections from Republican leaders), over the first airing of the Jan. 6th security footage released to Tucker Carlson, I’m struck, not only by the utter duplicity of their complaints, but offended at their expectation we, without question, accept their version of events as settled fact.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, demanded that Fox news chief Rupert Murdoch muzzle Tucker of any further nefarious disclosures, lest he completely demolish the left’s tightly constricted narrative that January 6th was nothing short of an “insurrection.” Period.
According to Schumer, there is no room for discussion. The Jan. 6 Committee findings have been etched in stone for all time. No further analysis – or even new evidence – will be entertained or tolerated.
The Senate majority leader’s protests mirror those of the Stanford law students who raged, with remarkable vulgarity, against federal appeals court judge, Stuart Kyle Duncan, after he was invited to speak by student members of the school’s chapter of the Federalist Society. To further pile on in support of the students’ intolerance, the law school’s DEI administrator lectured the Judge Duncan on the “harm” he caused by his rulings from the court.
So, for both instances, I guess the take-away is: opposing opinions, you know – “words”, are harmful to some folks, and are therefore forbidden.
However, buried somewhere in Schumer’s desperate efforts to convince us to avert our eyes from Tucker’s revelations, is a subtle, but valid, distinction. That is, “how” Tucker presented these images versus “what” was depicted.
First, the “how.” Tucker is an outspoken conservative commentator who has never hidden the ball about who he is or what he believes. Understanding this, it’s fair to disagree with his interpretation and characterization that the Jan. 6 riot was “mostly peaceful chaos.” We’ve got that.
In a pluralistic society, free speech flourishes, including offensive speech, so does the freedom to disagree. But we’re all watching the same movie, which has been shown ad nauseum on various new news outlets, (albeit, mostly conservative ones), since its release. Heck, if you don’t like Tucker’s commentary, hit the mute button and just watch, then draw your own conclusions — which brings me to “what” we are viewing.
The most infamous footage depicts Jacob Chansley, famously dubbed the QAnon Shaman, as a lone intruder casually strolling around inside the Capital in the company of as many as nine uniformed law enforcement officers, who at times, seem to be assisting him in opening doors to gain access other rooms.
If Mr. Chansley was a dangerous threat to the public and our democracy, as described by the judge who sentenced him to 41 months in prison, the officers in the video had the opportunity to immediately detain, arrest and remove Chansley when they first encountered him.
It has also been reported that the Capital Police did not accompany Chansley the entire time; that Chansley unlawfully entered the Capital and was repeatedly asked to leave the building. Chansley was ultimately arrested – but not until three days later on Jan. 9, 2021. Interesting.
When confronted by law enforcement, violent criminals are often held at gunpoint, instructed to prone out face down on the floor, then handcuffed from behind. Instead, the Capital officers seem to treat him as a welcomed visitor giving him preferential treatment.
Was the treatment of Chansley by Capital Police simply a de-escalation technique, as some have suggested? Were the officers aware that their actions would be recorded on security cameras? Chansley himself thought it was okay to be in the Capitol, “believing that when [they] were waved in by police officers, that it was acceptable,” Chansley said.
Although the four minutes of Chansley mingling with the Capital Police was part of a trove of 44,000 hours security recordings released to Carlson, it is not proof that Chansley did not violate the law or should not be prosecuted, given his previous encounters with the Capital Police where he was asked to leave. But he deserves a fair hearing and a punishment that fits the crime.
Moreover, Chansley’s attorney would likely consider the four minutes of video as exculpatory evidence. Meaning evidence favorable to the defendant, tending to exonerate the defendant by helping to establish his innocence. Prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to provide the defendant any exculpatory evidence in their possession. Chansley’s attorney has claimed the Government failed to provide the video of his client shown by Carlson.
Despite Chansley’s “remarkable” appeal for leniency at his sentencing in November 2021, U.S. District Senior Judge Royce Lamberth of the District of Columbia, could “not justify a downward departure,” that Chansley’s actions on Jan. 6 were “horrific” and he “made himself the image of the riot.” Would Judge Lambert have handed down the same sentence if Chansley’s attorney had possession of the footage in question and provided it to the Judge?
The fact that the Democrats’ Jan. 6 Committee chose to disregard or ignore these particular segments of security footage while claiming that Jan. 6 was an insurrection, exposes their efforts to cherry-pick evidence in order to craft an unassailable, one-sided version of the event for political gain.
To counter the Democrat’s narrative, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy released the entirety of security footage for the sake of transparency. However, he began by initially providing it to Tucker Carlson at Fox News. Needless to say, the resulting knee-jerk indignation from the Democrats and media, was to be expected.
The transparency McCarthy had sought may have been achieved by making the footage more widely available immediately, and I mean Everything, Everywhere All at Once.
Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), said it best when he stated that Jan. 6 “was not a peaceful protest. It was not an insurrection. It was a riot that should have never happened. And a lot of people share blame for that. The truth is always messier than any narrative.”
The “narrative” can be very satisfying to those invested in it, but it is never the whole story and it lacks objectivity, now deemed obsolete by progressive journalists. For many, the truth is not only unsatisfying, it’s impractical and sometimes terrifying.
If you are in that camp, your greatest fears are the likes of Tucker Carlson, Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, and Judge Duncan. Because somewhere in that messiness, we may catch a glimpse of the truth.
Mark D. Ferbrache served as an FBI special agent for 27 years specializing in white-collar criminal investigations. He later worked in the bureau’s National Security Division and CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, and held diplomatic assignments in Prague, London and Bucharest, as well as field office assignments in Seattle, New York and the FBI Headquarters in Washington. He is currently employed as a contractor in the U.S. intelligence community.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.