The house’s impeachment executives, using previously unseen security material from the U.S. Capitol and a map of the building, showed how close the rioters were to confronting staff and lawmakers on Jan. 6, underscoring the threat insurgents pose to everyone there represented.
These clips, shown during the Democrats’ eight-hour skirmish in former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment on Wednesday, exposed a number of near misses. Among the most shocking ones was the moment when Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) almost encountered attackers and another when rioters almost found a group of eight employees hiding in Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office.
In one clip, Romney tries to exit the Senate Chamber to accidentally walk towards the incoming rioters. The Capitol cop, Eugene Goodman, runs into him and instructs him to sprint the other way.
Like Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) stressed the close proximity of such encounters as there were rioters who appeared to inflict assault on officials, including Pelosi and then Vice-President Mike Pence.
“We know from the rioters themselves that if they found Spokesman Pelosi they would have killed them,” she said, referring to statements made by people in the Capitol about their intentions. Lawmakers like Romney and other Republicans who refused to contest the confirmation of the election results have also been the subject of significant setback from Trump supporters and may have been the target of violence.
It has been reported how much worse the attack on the Capitol could have been with the zip ties and guns brought by the rioters – and these new videos were a strong example of how close a phone call was.
Democrats have highlighted the astounding aftermath of the January 6th attack that killed five people. And in their first of two days of fighting, they highlighted how the rioters had the potential to hurt even more people.
“We all know that terrible day could have been so much worse,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). “You know how close you got to the mob. I understand that some of you could hear them, but most citizens do not know how close these rioters have got to you. “
Security footage and a map showed how close the rioters were to the legislature
In a compelling set of arguments that included internal security tapes from the Capitol building with videos of the protesters facing, Plaskett and Swalwell showed how quickly rioters broke into the Capitol and approached lawmakers in the House and Senate chambers.
In one of the security clips that Plaskett played, rioters were approaching the Senate Chamber as Pence and his family began evacuating – and getting closer to their location. Around the same time, Trump was still despising Pence for refusing to question the election results and spurring his supporters to attack the vice president.
“The mob was looking for Vice President Pence – because of his patriotism,” said Plaskett.
Wow. Security footage, which I haven’t seen before, shows how close the Trump mob was to getting their hands on Mike Pence pic.twitter.com/apUGBnwcte
– Aaron Rupar (atrupar), February 10, 2021
Another video shows that rioters who were dying to find Pelosi almost came across a group of employees hiding in their office. After overtaking the office, attackers rushed into one of the hallways and knocked on doors, including the room where staff had barricaded. When the attacker in question breaks into the room and stumbles upon another door, he leaves.
“You can hear the terror in their voices when they describe what happens to them when they are barricaded in the conference room,” Plaskett said as he shared audio from the staff.
The newly released security video shows several Speaker Pelosi employees rushing into a room where they would barricade themselves.
7 minutes later, the Capitol rioters are trying to enter the room.
“They’re knocking on doors and trying to find,” says Pelosi, a staff member, whispers. pic.twitter.com/1Xj9UxMzdQ
– NBC News (@NBCNews) February 10, 2021
Swalwell also highlighted close encounters the legislature had and played a video showing senators evacuating from the mob down the hall. “They were only 58 paces from where the mob had gathered and where the police rushed to stop them,” he told the assembled witnesses who were on a jury.
Absolutely amazing how close the rioters got to the senators; New footage shows they were 58 paces from the senators when they were evacuated. Schumer and his detail literally turned and ran in the opposite direction when the mob was nearby. Pic.twitter.com/dUlcsNnaSB
– Manu Raju (mkraju), February 10, 2021
The footage also highlighted how Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer nearly ran into rioters during the evacuation. It catches him running in one direction and suddenly turning around after seeing people in front of him. “They came only six feet from the rioters,” said Swalwell.
The newly released security video shows the then leader of the Senate minority, Schumer, being led through a hallway by his security data, then turning and rushing in the opposite direction.
Officers then barricade against the door. pic.twitter.com/Nd6os6bKV7
– NBC News (@NBCNews) February 10, 2021
Taken together, the videos showed how close the legislature had escaped the attack on the Capitol – and highlighted the violence the police endured as they tried to protect them from it.
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