“This horrible day may have been a lot worse”: New movies present how narrowly rioters missed the legislature
The house's impeachment managers, 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 the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump 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. 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 physical harm on officials such as 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 such as 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 previously been reported how much worse the attack on the Capitol could have been given the zip ties and weapons the rioters brought with them – and these new videos were a strong example of how close a phone call was.
Democrats have highlighted the astounding aftermath of the January 6 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 alongside videos of the protesters, 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 Plaskett played, rioters were approaching the Senate Chamber as Pence and his family began evacuating – and approaching 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 is to the opportunity to get their hands on Mike Pence pic.twitter.com/apUGBnwcte
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 10, 2021
Another video shows that rioters trying 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 the staff had barricaded. When the attacker in question breaks into the room and comes across 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 while sharing audio from the staff.
The newly released security video shows several Speaker Pelosi employees rushing into a room where they would be barricaded.
7 minutes later, the Capitol rioters are trying to enter the room.
"They are knocking on doors to find," says Pelosi, a staff member who 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 being evacuated from the mob. "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 encountered 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 two meters 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 hurrying in the opposite direction.
Officers then barricade themselves 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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