Anonymous Witness Reveals Former Vice President Security Detail Feared for Their Lives on January 6
An anonymous witness who was a security professional during the January attack on the Capitol shared that former Vice President Mike Pence's security detail feared for their lives following Trump's incitement of the rioters.
Details during a hearing on Thursday revealed that members of Former Vice President Mike Pence's Secret Service feared for their lives during the Capitol attack, according to CBS News.
An interview with the witness was played during the hearing, relaying that Pence’s former detail radioed goodbyes to their families during the attack, per a witness who testified anonymously but was described as a "national security professional" that was working at the White House the day of the attack.
The witness said,"The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives," adding there was a lot of yelling and "very personal calls" being made over the radio traffic, according to the outlet.
According to the witness interview, the agents who were with the former Vice President at the Capitol offered continual "reassurances” even as the violence escalated, saying "They were just yelling," in reference to the mob.
During the hearing, the chat log from staff on Trump's National Security Council — which details the situation at the Capitol in real-time — was disclosed.
This eighth hearing focused on the 187 minutes on January 6 from when the former president finished his speech at the Ellipse to when he posted a tweet at 4:17 p.m. telling rioters to leave the Capitol.
According to the log that was shared:
- 2:13 p.m: "starting to kick in windows at the capitol. 2 windows have been kicked in," and then "capitol is breached."
- 2:16 p.m: "VP being pulled," was entered
- 2:18 p.m: "decision in the next 2-3 mins or they may not be able to move. VP may be stuck at the Capitol."
- 2:24 p.m: "Service at the capitol does not sound good right now."
"It was disturbing. I don't like talking about it," the anonymous witness said of the 2:24 p.m. entry.
“...but there were calls to say goodbye to family members and so forth. It was getting – for whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly."
According to CBS News, in past hearings the select committee has detailed how Trump aimed to put pressure on Pence, hoping to unilaterally overturn the results of the election during the joint session of Congress that convened January 6.
The goal was for this to happen by either rejecting state electoral votes or returning them to the state legislatures to replace their electors.
Because Pence did not oblige, he and the former president had a tenuous phone call the morning of the attack where Pence was called a “wimp,” according to testimony.
This insult preceded Trumps’ tweet saying the former Vice lacked "courage.
Sarah Matthews — a former White House deputy press secretary who resigned after the attack — testified in-person Thursday about her experiences in the White House during the Capitol assault and previously told the committee in a recorded interview that Trump's tweet only fueled rioters, according to the outlet.
According to CBS News, the rioters surged inside the Capitol and chanted "hang Mike Pence,” overwhelming law enforcement after the president’s tweet.
This led to the Secret Service moving Pence from his ceremonial Senate office to a secure location within the Capitol complex, per the outlet.
According to CBS, photos were displayed at an earlier hearing that showed Pence in the secure location on the phone and then watching a recorded video from Trump urging the mob to go home.
The witness said, "It sounds like that 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?” according to the outlet.
"Is the detail – like, I don't know. Like, we didn't have visibility, but it doesn't – if they're screaming and saying things, like, say good-bye to the family, like the floor needs to know this is going to a whole another level soon."
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