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Trump uses Tucker Carlson tapes to call for Jan 6 prisoners to ‘go free’ as critics call footage ‘shameful’

Donald Trump has used the January 6 insurrection surveillance footage released to Fox News host Tucker Carlson to call for Capitol riot prisoners to “go free”.

The decision by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to release around 40,000 hours of security footage from the attack on the Capitol has been blasted by critics.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said on Tuesday that Monday night’s broadcast by Mr Carlson was “one of the most shameful hours of television”.

Mr Carlson attempted to portray the siege as peaceful.

“To say January 6th was not violent is a lie, a lie pure and simple,” Mr Schumer said on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.

He added that he was “furious with Tucker Carlson and Kevin McCarthy”.

“What a low point for Speaker McCarthy, what a low point for Fox News,” he said. “I condemn Mr Carlson for siding with the enemies of democracy. I strongly condemn Speaker McCarthy’s actions and fiercely oppose his decision to share this footage with Carlson.”

“Conduct like theirs is just asking for another January 6 to happen,” he added.

Mr Trump took to Truth Social on Monday night and Tuesday morning to praise the broadcast and to call for the jailed rioters to be let go.

“Congratulations to Tucker Carlson on one of the biggest ‘scoops’ as a reporter in US history. The New Surveillance Footage of the January 6th Events sheds an entirely different light on what actually happened,” he claimed. “The Unselect Committee was a giant SCAM, and has now unequivocally been stamped as CRIMINAL FABRICATORS OF THIS MOST IMPORTANT DAY. Pelosi & McConnell failed on security. The Police story is sad and difficult to watch. ‘Trump’ and most others are totally innocent, LET THEM GO FREE, NOW!”

“Great courage shown by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy in releasing the surveillance footage to Tucker Carlson so that our Country, and indeed the World, can see what really went on during the January 6th events,” the ex-president claimed in a subsequent post. “A whole new, and completely opposite, picture has now been indelibly painted. The Unselect Committee LIED, and should be prosecuted for their actions. Nancy & Mitch were a disaster on Security. Thank you Kevin and Tucker. FREE AT LAST!!!”

In an all-caps rant on Tuesday morning, Mr Trump continued his diatribe.

“LET THE JANUARY 6 PRISONERS GO. THEY WERE CONVICTED, OR ARE AWAITING TRIAL, BASED ON A GIANT LIE, A RADICAL LEFT CON JOB,” he wrote. “THANK YOU TO TUCKER CARLSON AND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE KEVIN McCARTHY FOR WHAT YOU BOTH HAVE DONE. NEW VIDEO FOOTAGE IS IRREFUTABLE!!!”

Ahead of Mr Carlson’s Tuesday night programme, Mr Trump added: “Tucker Carlson a MUST WATCH tonight. Releasing more VIDEO which was ‘HIDDEN BY THE CROOKED J 6 UNSELECT COMMITTEE.’ They should be prosecuted for their lies and, quite frankly, TREASON!”

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle, tweeted: “Trump is all in for the insurrection. His Republican competitors won’t denounce the insurrection. The Republican Party is half insurrectionist and half anti-anti-insurrectionist. I am alarmed.”

National security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler tweeted: “Trump had a chance to pardon all the MAGAts who pi**ed away their lives on his lie. He didn’t do that, because he knew the Senate would have convicted him.”

“Now he realizes that the continued prosecution of thugs and conspiracists who attacked the Capitol put HIM in jeopardy and he’s changing his tune--but Jan6ers who pi**ed their lives away for him should know he’s only looking out for himself,” she added.

Donald Trump Jr chimed in, saying that “other than perhaps the main stream media has any institution done as much damage to its credibility as the United States government has over the past few years? Is there anything that they got right? More importantly is there anything that they did not lie to us about? Yesterday’s J6 video is yet another example in a long list of examples!”

“How is one supposed to trust a government that either clearly lied to you or did whatever they could to hide the actual truth from the people to drive their narrative? These systems are corrupted and broken and no longer serve the people honorably… they simply serve themselves!” he added.

The chief of the US Capitol Police, Tom Manger, wrote in an internal memo shared with CNN that “last night an opinion program aired commentary that was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack”.

“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments,” he added.