EXCLUSIVE: Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the January 6 committee, said Wednesday that the hearing schedule would continue until July.
One reason: the newly obtained evidence, including footage from British director Alex Holder, who is expected to speak to the committee on Thursday. For Politico, Thompson called the footage he saw “important,” but declined to elaborate.
Deadline may reveal that the three-part series – Without precedents – was purchased from Discovery +. We understand that former BBC executive Greg Sanderson, who was previously an executive producer on the documentary strand of British public broadcaster Storyville, had worked with Holder on the project.
Holder said in a statement this week that the footage is from the last six weeks of President Trump’s re-election campaign, as well as never-before-seen footage of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. “The series includes interviews with Trump, his daughter Ivanka, sons Eric and Don Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Vice President Mike Pence Holder said he and his team are “cooperating fully” with the subpoena.
UPDATE: Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed the story and a spokesperson said, “Alex Holder’s Without precedents the three-part docuseries on the 2020 election will be published on Discovery + by the end of the summer. Featuring unedited footage of the Trump family during the election campaign and their reactions to the election outcome, the docuseries will offer intimate and unprecedented interviews with Trump, his family and others who were in the White House.
It was previously unclear which streaming service acquired the rights.
What’s certainly a bit of a conundrum, though, is just what’s in the documentary and how Holder got access to Trump and his inner circle.
Some members of Trump’s campaign were unaware that the project existed and seemed surprised when its existence emerged. But it’s the kind of new twist that potentially gives the committee more weight as it pushes its case against Trump, as their hearings so far have had their biggest impact with the release of audio and video clips.
Some are known: The New York Times reported Tuesday that in an interview, Ivanka Trump appears to support her father’s search for false claims of election fraud, saying she “has to face this fight.” The Times also reported that the director gained access to the Trump family through Jason Greenblatt, who was the White House envoy to the Middle East at the time. Robert Costa of CBS News reported that Holder has 11 hours of footage of interviews with the Trump family from September 2020 to January 2021. On Wednesday on CBS Evening News, Costa also featured images of Holder interviewing Trump and Ivanka Trump.
Holder suggested that one of the reasons why so little attention was paid to the project was that, due to the sale of the footage, he “previously did not have the legal authority to release the material or publicly discuss the project.”
Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a member of the committee, said he became aware of the footage when “a person who was aware of the information contacted me, wrote me a letter and it was at least the way in I took the path. There may have been other contacts as well. ” He refused to say if it was the director who contacted him.
Holder is perhaps best known as the producer of the documentary Keep Quiet, about the leader of Hungary’s far-right conservative party who, after expressing anti-Semitic convictions, discovers he is of Jewish origin. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016.
His attorney did not respond to comment on the decision to cooperate with the committee’s subpoena. Although there has previously been legal evidence for documentary filmmakers delivering outtakes and other footage to courts and other government bodies, the Jan.6 Committee secured not only Holder’s cooperation, but Nick Quested’s as well. who testified at the first hearing about his project on the far-right group The Proud Boys.
In December, the Press Freedom Journalists Committee and 55 media organizations urged the Jan.6 Committee to withdraw a warrant to subpoena the phone records of a freelance photojournalist, arguing that those documents were protected by the First Amendment.
But Katie Townsend, legal director of the Reporters Committee, said it’s a different situation with these documentary directors because they have chosen to comply.
“It may be that they decided it was a smart thing to do or that they took an ethical consideration to comply,” he said, noting that the footage has to do with a “singular event in American history.”
He also said their collaboration should not set a precedent for any future cases.
“Not only does it not set a precedent for other directors, but I don’t think it necessarily sets a precedent for these individual directors,” he said.