- Live Stories
- Young Minds
'Scary' Capitol riot footage dominates Trump impeachment trial
Never-before-seen footage of senior US politicians fleeing for their lives during last month's assault on Congress
Impeachment prosecutors at Donald Trump's Senate trial on Wednesday aired terrifying as prosecutors unveiled chilling new security video in impeachment trial, showing the mob of rioters breaking into the Capitol, smashing windows and doors and searching menacingly for Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as overwhelmed police begged on their radios for help.
Never-before-seen footage of senior US politicians fleeing for their lives during last month's assault on Congress, a riot they argued was deliberately incited by the former president.
In the previously unreleased recordings, the House prosecutors displayed gripping scenes of how close the rioters were to the country’s leaders, roaming the halls chanting "Hang Mike Pence," some equipped with combat gear. Outside, the mob had set up a makeshift gallows, according to The Associated Press.
Videos of the siege have been circulating since the day of the riot, but the graphic compilation amounted to a more complete narrative, a moment-by-moment retelling of one of the nation’s most alarming days. In addition to the evident chaos and danger, it offered fresh details on the attackers, scenes of police heroism and cries of distress. And it showed just how close the country came to a potential breakdown in its seat of democracy as Congress was certifying Trump’s election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.
With painstaking, graphic presentations, Democratic impeachment managers walked senators — many of them clearly shaken — through hours of video, some of which came from security cameras and police bodycams and was being aired for the first time.
The aim was to remind senators, and watching Americans, just how bad January 6 got when a mob stormed the US Capitol after Trump told a rally near the White House that his failure to win reelection was due to vote rigging.
The ensuing mayhem left five people dead, including one woman shot after she invaded the Capitol and one policeman killed by the crowd.
Video played on the Senate floor showed then-vice president Mike Pence — who was in the Capitol to preside over certification of Joe Biden's defeat of Trump — being hurried down back stairs to safety by security officers, along with his family.
Top Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is seen narrowly dodging a rampaging throng of pro-Trump rioters. And Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican who often opposed Trump and was turned into a hate figure by the president, is seen being steered away by an officer at the last moment as an angry crowd approaches.
"They did it because Donald Trump sent them on this mission,” said House prosecutor Stacey Plaskett, the Democratic delegate representing the US Virgin Islands. "His mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down.”
The stunning presentation opened the first full day of arguments in the trial as the prosecutors argued Trump was no "innocent bystander” but rather the "inciter in chief” of the deadly Capitol riot, a president who spent months spreading election lies and building a mob of supporters primed for his call to stop Biden’s victory.
Though most of the Senate jurors have already made up their minds on acquittal or conviction, they were riveted and sat silently. Screams from the audio and video filled the Senate chamber. Senators shook their heads, folded their arms and furrowed their brows. One Republican, James Lankford of Oklahoma, bent his head, a GOP colleague putting his hand on his arm in comfort.