Startling New Security Video Shows Pence Evacuating and Romney Running as Trump Mob Breaches Capitol
Startling, previously unseen security video from inside the U.S. Capitol attack was aired Wednesday at Donald Trump's impeachment trial and shows how close a mob of his supporters came to lawmakers and Mike Pence after overwhelming law enforcement and breaching the building.
One clip, aired during the impeachment managers' presentation against Trump, shows the former vice president and his family being quickly evacuated from near the Senate chamber, where he had been presiding over a joint session of Congress to certify the election.
Pence had initially been moved to a room near the Senate and was only fully evacuated to a secure location after the rioters were already inside.
In the footage, Pence, 61, turns to look behind him as he and his family are escorted down the stairs. It was previously reported the mob came within some 100 feet of where he and his family were hiding before being moved to the secure location.
Another clip from the new security video shows Republican Sen. Mitt Romney turn and run in the other direction after Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman crosses his path in the hall and warns that the rioters had broken into the building.
Goodman would later lure some of the rioters away from the Senate chamber.
Yet other videos shown Wednesday during Trump's unprecedented second impeachment trial were of armed security escorting lawmakers through the halls of Congress.
"Vice President Pence was threatened with death by the president's supporters because he rejected President Trump's demand that he overturn the election," House impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett, a delegate representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, said after she showed the clips of Pence and Romney.
"Imagine what they could've done," Rep. Eric Swalwell, another impeachment manager, said later, showing additional clips of lawmakers fleeing the rioters.
"We all know that awful day could've been so much worse," Swalwell soon added.
The new security footage formed the core of Wednesday's arguments by the impeachment managers, who are analogous to prosecutors sent by the House of Representatives for the ongoing Senate trial.
A week after the mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 — and five people died — the former president was impeached by the House for "incitement of insurrection."
His attorneys have alternately argued his comments on Jan. 6 were free speech, not encouraging violence, and that, he cannot be tried by the Senate because he has left office.
Arguing a chronological based on timelines and a mix of first-person and security video, the impeachment managers are seeking to underscore how Trump spent weeks encouraging his base to "fight" against what he claimed — without evidence — was an election against him.
Speaking to a rally on Jan. 6 outside the White House, not long before those same attendees would march on the Capitol, Trump urged them to walk down to where Congress had gathered in session.
Trump warned of a "group of people" trying to "illegally take over our country."
He went on: "You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."
He later praised the rioters as "very special," and gave contradictory messages — initally telling his rally attendees to be peaceful and patriotic but also tweeting after the Capitol was stormed that "these are the things and events that happen … Remember this day forever!"
On Wednesday, after showing a clip of the mob hunting and calling out for the location of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the attack, Plaskett, 54, said: "If they had found Speaker Pelosi, they would've killed her."
Throughout Wednesday's presentation, impeachment managers laid out several examples that they argued made the deadly insurrection "predictable" because of Trump incendiary rhetoric and refusal to recognize he had lost the November election.
"The truth is, this attack never would've happened not for Donald Trump," Rep. Madeleine Dean told senators, holding back tears as she recounted the events last month's nationally traumatic riot.
The impeachment managers argued Trump "fanned the flame of violence" with his speech prior to the riot on Jan. 6 and said he "deliberately incited" the mob.
Plaskett, during her portion of the presentation, pointed to a number of examples that she said shows Trump cheered on his supporters' violence — including his celebration when someone with a truck briefly hit one of now-President Joe Biden's campaign buses in Texas.
Plaskett also pointed to Trump cheering on his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani during his Jan. 6 speech, moments after Giuliani suggested the crowd should engage in "trial by combat" to defend the former president's baseless claims he somehow beat Biden.
Trump's defense team will make their counter argument in the coming days, per the trial schedule expected to last into the weekend.
The former president's attorneys have so far argued the former president should not be forced to stand trial and that he was not responsible for his supporters' actions at the Capitol.
They have also said House Democrats are politically motivated because they want to bar Trump from office in the future to avoid having to face him.
"We are really here because the majority in the House of Representatives does not want to face Donald Trump as their political rival in the future. That's the real reason we're here," attorney Bruce Castor Jr. said Tuesday. "And that's why they have to get over the jurisdictional hurdle, which they can't get over. But that's why they have to get over that in order to get to the part of the Constitution that allows removal."
Trump is largely expected to be acquitted, given the makeup of the Senate. But reporters in the chamber on Wednesday reported lawmakers of both parties watching the security footage intently.