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Home » Documentary footage of Pelosi on Jan. 6, 2021, doesn’t prove the attack on the Capitol was planned

Documentary footage of Pelosi on Jan. 6, 2021, doesn’t prove the attack on the Capitol was planned

A fraud. A villain.

In his June 3 Facebook post, that’s how conservative activist Benny Johnson described Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for her role on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day a crowd of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Newly released Jan. 6, 2021, footage shows the then-House speaker, her staff and security detail walking through the corridors of the Capitol. Johnson claimed that footage proved Pelosi had a nefarious role in the incident.

“She had a camera crew follow her around on January 6th,” he wrote. “New tapes show her waiting to stage her escape until the camera man (her daughter) said, ‘Action!’ It was all a movie. It was a script. It was all planned.”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)


Johnson did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment, but the new footage he appears to have referred to was posted on Just The News, a conservative website founded by John Solomon, a journalist and opinion writer whose past work has furthered unproven narratives.

The video, which Solomon described as Capitol Police security footage that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy “made available” to Just The News, has no sound. It shows Pelosi walking through the corridors alongside members of her staff and security personnel. In the video, a woman who remains just steps away from Pelosi appears to be recording with a hand-held camera. Just The News identified that woman as Pelosi’s daughter Alexandra Pelosi.

It has been publicly reported by multiple news organizations that Alexandra Pelosi, a documentary filmmaker, filmed her mother during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. This isn’t unusual. Fox News reported that she has filmed her mother at the Capitol for decades.

In October 2022, Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi, told PolitiFact there wasn’t a camera crew that day — just Alexandra Pelosi with a small, hand-held camera that she always carries.

The security camera footage posted by Just The News supports Hammill’s assertion.

The clips do not prove that the events on Jan. 6, 2021, were part of a scripted plan. During years of reporting on the attack, PolitiFact has found no credible evidence that the attack was contrived.

Fueled partly by the false belief that the presidential election had been stolen, hundreds of people — many clad in Trump-branded apparel, others in helmets and combat gear, some armed with weapons — stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, aiming to stop the certification of the 2020 election results.

Rioters scaled walls, broke windows, forced their way into the building and repeatedly clashed with police. One woman was fatally shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer during the attack. The siege forced lawmakers to evacuate and temporarily delayed the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Since the attack, more than 1,000 people have faced federal charges for crimes ranging from obstruction of Congress to using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer. Of those, more than 580 people have pleaded guilty and 514 have been sentenced, according to an NPR analysis.

In February 2021, the U.S. Capitol’s top operations and maintenance official told lawmakers that the costs of the riot — including repairs, increased security and the provision of mental health services — would exceed $30 million.

Falsehoods about the attack on the U.S. Capitol, including claims that it was a false flag, were named PolitiFact’s 2021 Lie of the Year. In the years since, we’ve continued fact-checking false claims about the attack; it was a real event with real consequences.

A Facebook post claimed “new tapes” of Nancy Pelosi show Jan. 6 “was all planned.”

Newly released security camera footage captured on Jan. 6, 2021, shows Nancy Pelosi being filmed by her daughter, documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, during the Capitol attack. The footage does not prove the attack was scripted or planned, and we found no credible evidence to support that claim.

The attack was real; it caused millions of dollars in damage and prompted hundreds of arrests.

We rate these claims False.

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. See the sources for this fact check here.

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