The House impeachment executives on Wednesday used graphic video and audio clips, some of which had not been publicly released, to recreate the moments when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Delegate Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, presented the harrowing footage and sound as she illustrated the danger ex-Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress faced when they saw President Joe Biden's election victory confirmed.
It came on a day when the impeachment executives of the House of Representatives were setting out their case that former President Donald Trump sparked an uprising against the government before lawmakers, who both witnessed the attack and will decide whether to convict the former president for causing him .
"President Trump put a target on their backs and his mob went to the Capitol to hunt them down," said Plaskett at the end of her presentation.
The video shows the first moments Trump supporters break through barricades and approach the Capitol while some scattered police officers throw blows but do not hold them back. The police can be heard in previously unpublished radio logs calling for reinforcement in the event of "multiple violations by law enforcement agencies".
One officer describes rioters who "throw metal bars at us". Another says, "They start throwing explosives" or "Fireworks".
"This is practically a riot now," said one officer around 1:49 pm. ET on January 6th.
When rioters reach the Capitol, they knock on windows and kick doors. A man breaks a window with a screen and the mob streams in through the opening. A rioter carries a Confederate flag into the Capitol.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence looks back when, on Jan. 6, his U.S. Secret Service took him out of a secure room and out of the U.S. on a still image of U.S. security material presented as evidence by the House's impeachment managers. Capitol is evacuated during the impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump for inciting a fatal attack on the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, on February 10, 2021.
US Senate | Reuters
In security videos of the same incident from inside the building, which Plaskett said has never been seen, rioters pour through a door and window while a lone officer responds. One member of the crowd wears tactical body armor and another has a baseball bat.
After the Senate takes a break around 2:13 p.m. ET, Pence, and Senators leave the Chamber. Security footage shows former Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, who later turned rioters away from the Senate Chamber, passed Utah GOP Senator Mitt Romney in a hallway and told him to hurry in the opposite direction of the mob.
Additional security footage shows Pence and his family storming down a flight of stairs as they evacuate from the Senate Chamber.
Even more videos show rioters looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Asking, "Where are you, Nancy? We're looking for you." A Pelosi employee in hiding whispers into a phone: "You are knocking on the doors and trying to find them."
A subsequent presentation by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Replicated how close the mob was to reaching Members of the House. Security footage showed lawmakers fleeing the chamber of the house and walking through hallways in gas masks.
He presented a video in which police shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, the woman who died as a group of rioters trying to break through doors near the chamber of the house.
Swalwell also showed a video of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who turned and crawled the other way after moving towards the mob.
"They were only 58 paces from where the mob had gathered," Swalwell told the senators.
Some senators, including Romney, watched carefully as the impeachment managers re-enacted the danger faced by lawmakers, according to reporters at the Capitol. Masks they wore to slow the spread of coronavirus-protected reactions.
The Senators watched dozens of haunting videos, the last of which showed the mob crushing a cop in a doorway as he screamed. Swalwell ended his presentation with the graphic clip.
The House of Representatives prosecuting the Trump case are faced with the challenge of convincing Republican senators to vote in favor of condemning the former president. Seventeen GOP senators would have to join all 50 Democrats.
On Tuesday only six Republicans voted for the process to continue at all. The former president's legal team argued that Trump shouldn't face impeachment proceedings after leaving office.
Both sides have 16 hours to resolve their cases within two days. Trump's lawyers are expected to argue that months of comments the House says incited the mob during the election and after the constitutionally protected speech.
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