Updated Jul 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Secret Service, NSC feared Pence would be trapped at Capitol on Jan. 6

Source: Jan. 6 committee

The Jan. 6 select committee on Thursday presented evidence that the Secret Service and National Security Council expressed concerns on Jan. 6 that then-Vice President Mike Pence would be stuck at the Capitol as the riot unfolded.

Why it matters: The evidence is meant to underscore the stakes on that day as rioters got within just five to 10 feet of the vice president, who they blamed for refusing to attempt to overturn the election in then-President Trump's favor.

Driving the news: In Jan. 6 radio traffic played by the committee at its Thursday hearing, one Secret Service agent guarding Pence said, "If we lose any more time, we may ... lose the ability to leave. So if we're going to leave, we need to do it now."

  • An agent said, "We may want to consider getting out and leaving now," with another asking, "Will we encounter the people once we make our way?"
  • Another agent said the rioters were just five to 10 feet away, with six police officers standing in between.

The National Security Council had similar concerns about Pence's ability to leave the Capitol, according to chat logs displayed by the committee.

  • One message at 2:18pm said: "decision in the next 2-3 mins or they may not be able to move. VP may be stuck at the Capitol."
  • Another message six minutes later read: "Service at the capitol does not sound good right now."

According to an anonymous White House security official, who testified to the committee, the NSC message about "service at the Capitol" referred to fearful radio chatter from agents at the Capitol.

  • "The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives," they said in the interview.
  • "There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing. I don't like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members. ... The VP detail thought this was about to get very ugly."
  • "It sounds like ... we came very close to either Service having to use lethal options, or worse. At that point I don't know. Is the VP compromised? I don't know," they testified.

Go deeper... 187 minutes: Jan. 6 hearing to show Trump's deliberate inaction

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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