Disturbing video of party leaders desperately calling for help as the US Capitol was ransacked provided a chilling twist in Thursday’s session of the probe into the 2021 insurrection.
Previously unreleased footage underlined how vulnerable lawmakers were as a mob sent by former president Donald Trump ransacked offices and hallways.
“There has to be some way we can maintain th sense that people have that there is some security or some confidence that government can function,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was shown saying as she sheltered in a secure location with leaders from both parties.
A previously unseen video showed Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and other top lawmakers urgently dialing military officials and White House staff seeking help during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters https://t.co/KixGHwUzG4 pic.twitter.com/eaAXr9ni04
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 14, 2022
At one point during the frantic calls, Pelosi is told that lawmakers are donning gas masks to prepare for a breach, and she asks her top lieutenant Jim Clyburn: “Do you believe this?”
Chuck Schumer, who now leads the Senate although his Democrats were in the minority at the time, appeared equally perturbed.
“I’m going to call up the effing (Defense) Secretary,” the clearly upset New Yorker tells Pelosi.
Minutes later he calls Justice Department acting chief Jeffrey Rosen and demands: “Why don’t you get the president to tell them to leave the Capitol, Mr. Attorney General, in your law enforcement responsibility?”
Pelosi is also pictured on a phone call with Virginia’s then-governor Ralph Northam as she watches footage of the chaos on television.
“They’re just breaking windows… they said somebody was shot. It’s just horrendous, and all at the instigation of the president of the United States,” she says.
Pelosi and Schumer are pictured at one point with Republican leadership figures, all discussing how to send for help.
The footage, captured by Pelosi’s daughter, Alexandra, was interspersed with video of the violent pro-Trump mob invading the Capitol.
“Congressional leadership recognized on a bipartisan basis that President Trump was the only person who could get the mob to end its violent siege of the Congress, leave the Capitol and go home,” panel member Jamie Raskin told the hearing.
The committee was appearing in public for the last time before November’s midterm elections.
Trump is accused of leading a plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and of doing nothing to stop the violence in Washington that resulted from his plans.
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