April 23, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson is trying out some new language to describe the riotous mob that swarmed the U.S. Capitol on January 6: Innocent Americans that were just there, “walking through the building.”

In an interview with Newsmax’s Eric Bolling on Monday night, the Republican leader seemed to suggest that the 2,000 people who charged the halls, destroyed federal property, and interrupted the peaceful presidential transfer of power—1,265 of whom have been charged by federal authorities—were actually mere innocent bystanders.

“I made a commitment immediately after I got the gavel that we would start releasing that,” Johnson said, referring to tapes of the insurrection. “Originally we were trying to blur some of the faces to protect the innocent, you know, people who were there and just happened to be walking through the building.”

“But then we realized a lot of this is out there in the public anyway,” Johnson continued. “We had to hire new staff to do it, they’re up late…it’s a 24-hour operation, all that tape will be out there as soon as possible. Thirteen thousand hours are available now.”

There’s no reason to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt on who he’s referring to, especially since he unequivocally admitted in December that the conservative party was working on a project to doctor footage of the January 6 insurrection in an effort to thwart the identification of the rioters in an investigation by the Justice Department.

“We have to blur some of the faces of persons who participated in the events of that day because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ,” Johnson said at the time. “That’s a slow process to get it done, we’re working steadily on it. We’ve hired additional personnel to do that and all of those tapes ultimately will be out so everybody can see them and draw their own conclusions.”