Video footage shown to the public for the first time during the impeachment trial on Wednesday showed the locations of former Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The footage, drawn from security cameras in and around the Capitol, showed Pence was taken from the Senate chamber, where he had been presiding over a joint session of Congress, to a connected room, along with his wife, daughter, and brother, Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.).
“As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family,” Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), a House impeachment manager, told senators in Washington while showing the footage. “They were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber, where many of you remained at that time.”
Secret Service agents with the group evacuated Pence from the room to a secure location at 2:26 p.m., about 14 minutes after they’d been rushed inside and approximately 37 minutes after the Capitol was breached.
Democrats are trying to convince senators that former President Donald Trump should be convicted on a charge of inciting an insurrection, for allegedly motivating supporters to storm the Capitol that day.
“The mob was looking for Vice President Pence because of his patriotism, because the vice president refused to do what the president demanded and overturn election results,” Plaskett said, adding later, “Vice President Pence was threatened with death by the president’s supporters because he rejected President Trump’s demand.”
“As you saw, Vice President Mike Pence and his family even had to be evacuated for their safety,” Rep. David Cicciline (D-R.I.), another impeachment manager, told senators.
Pelosi, meanwhile, was ushered from the House floor and out of the Capitol complex to a location that still hasn’t been disclosed, because of concerns that she was under direct threat.
“The Capitol Police deemed the threat so dangerous that they evacuated her entirely from the Capitol complex,” Plaskett said.
“The insurrectionists’ intent to murder the speaker of the House is well documented with charging documents that are now available. We know from the rioters themselves that if they had found Speaker Pelosi, they would have killed her.”
Other clips played by the managers showed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) nearly encountering the mob and eight Pelosi staff members moving away from their offices and huddling in a conference room, escaping a hallway just minutes before rioters came through.
The managers also played phone call audio from one of Pelosi’s staffers, who could be heard telling the Capitol Police, “They’re pounding the doors trying to find her.”
The footage also showed U.S. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman running into Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in a second floor hallway. The officer urged Romney to go back to the Senate chamber; the Republican had intended to go to a workspace he has in the Capitol.
Some senators said they found the footage compelling.
“It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes,” Romney told reporters. “That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.”
“It was very painful and difficult to watch. We witnessed an assault on the bodies of the people who were in the Capitol and on the body politic,” Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said outside the chamber.
Others suggested the presentation wouldn’t make a difference in the final vote, which is expected to fall well short of the 67 that would be needed to convict Trump.
“I think you get, at best, six Republicans,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said.
“Their focus is on the actions of the day. And they have still to reckon with the fact that most of us don’t believe that we have the constitutional authority to impeach a private person, and I don’t think that they’re going to be able to overcome that,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said.