Donald Trump's allies have been hunting for evidence to exonerate the former president and his supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but one analyst said they've been "chasing shadows."
House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gave access to surveillance footage from the riot to two Trump-backing writers, Julie Kelly and John Solomon, after giving video to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, but none of them have managed to produce a bombshell to "reshape the obvious reality of the day," wrote Washington Post columnist Philip Bump.
"It’s been a week since the world learned that Solomon and Kelly would get access to the tapes," Bump writes. "In an interview on June 2, Kelly said that Solomon, who got access earlier, was 'going to have some really bombshell revelations in the next several days here on key controversies of that day.'"
"So what has he reported?" Bump adds.
Solomon, whose reporting on Ukraine was central to Trump’s 2019 impeachment, has revealed that then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi was evacuated "Hollywood-style" from the Capitol, that a door into the Capitol was left open -- which had been reported in October 2021 -- and that footage shown by the House select committee had grafted audio onto silent surveillance video.
Kelly hasn't done any reporting since viewing the video but insists she's seen enough to mind-bendingly suggest the riot was presented as a violent threat to democracy to indict Trump for his role in that violent attack on the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden's election win.
"The existence of this cache of footage from the Capitol is simply one of several things ... that the right believes will prove their political positions correct," Bump writes. "To date, scrutiny of the material by sympathetic actors has not done so by any objective measure. But perhaps it might, so right-wing voices can continue to hype that possibility and keep their audiences on the hook."