Updated Oct 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Footage shows congressional leaders' urgent calls on Jan. 6

The Jan. 6 select committee on Thursday played stunning footage of congressional leaders in both parties calling governors and Trump administration officials from a secure location to try to quell the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: The footage is meant to highlight how the legislative branch was left to fend for itself as former President Trump sat on his hands while his supporters ransacked the building.

Driving the news: "There has to be some way we can maintain the sense that people have that there is some security or some confidence that government can function, and that you can elect the president of the United States," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at 2:42pm ET, according to the footage.

  • Pelosi was incredulous at the time. After being told that members were putting on tear gas masks to prepare for a breach, she turned to House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn and asked, "Do you believe this?"
  • Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was similarly incensed. "I'm going to call up the f---ing secretary of [defense]," he told Pelosi at 3pm.
  • "Why don't you get the president to tell them to leave the Capitol, Mr. Attorney General, in your law enforcement responsibility," Schumer angrily asked acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at 3:25pm.

Pelosi, on a phone call with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam at 3:22pm, was watching footage of the Capitol riot unfolding on TV.

  • "Oh my gosh, 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 told Northam.
  • Pelosi was talking to Northam about sending in his state's national guard. "I still think you probably need the OK of the federal government to come into another jurisdiction," she told him.

What caught our eye: One piece of footage showed Pelosi, Schumer, House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate and House Republican whips John Thune and Steve Scalise huddled together to try to get law enforcement to the Capitol.

  • One congressional leader not seen in the room: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
  • "Just pretend for a moment that it was the Pentagon or the White House or some other entity that was under siege," Pelosi said in the call.

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

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