Jul 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New Jan. 6 footage shows Pence, Senate leaders working to quell violence

A video of Jan. 6 rioters inside the US Capitol displayed on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee.
A video of Jan. 6 rioters inside the Capitol displayed on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee on Thursday unveiled new footage, photos and testimony that underscores how former Vice President Pence and congressional leaders worked to end the violence at the Capitol.

Why it matters: The footage is meant to demonstrate how Trump was inert and even counterproductive in quelling violence at the Capitol in stark contrast with the nation's other leaders — Democrat and Republican.

Driving the news: Video from a "secure location" dated Jan. 6 shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell telling then-Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, "We're not going to let these people keep us from finishing our business."

  • "So we need you to get the building cleared, give us the ok so we can go back in session and finish up the people's business," McConnell said.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked if it would take "several days to clear the building," to which Miller responded, "I do not agree with that analysis."
  • Asked how long it would take to get the Capitol back up and running, Miller said it would take "four to five hours."

The committee also showed "never-before-seen photographs" of Pence on the phone, taking notes and talking with police officers on Jan. 6.

  • Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the panel in closed door testimony, "There were two or three calls with Vice President Pence."
  • "He was very animated and he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders," Milley said in testimony played over the photos.
  • Pence, according to Milley, was "very firm" in telling Miller, "Get the military down here, get the guard down here, put down this situation."

The panel revealed that Trump "refused" to use a script that his staff had prepared for a recorded video message telling his supporters to leave the Capitol, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) said.

  • The prepared remarks, which were stamped "President Has Seen," said: "I am asking you to leave the Capitol Hill region NOW and go home in a peaceful way," per the panel.
  • "Ultimately, these remarks ... were not the remarks that the President delivered in the Rose Garden," Luna testified.
  • Trump instead sent a video telling his supporters, "We love you" and "You're very special."
  • Trump's former personal aide Nick Luna said that to his knowledge, the president was speaking "off the cuff."

White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said that after Trump sent out the video, White House staff were "emotionally drained."

  • "I don’t think there was anything else to do. I’d just say people were emotionally drained by the time that videotape was done," Herschmann said.

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