Rep. Stacey Plaskett made history Wednesday and drew wide-ranging praise for her forceful argument to impeach Donald Trump. She is the first non-voting Congressional delegate to serve as a House impeachment manager.
Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands, showed senators graphic, never-before-seen surveillance video of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots in which lawmakers could be seen running for their lives as the violent mob hunted Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Vice President Pence was threatened with death by the President's supporters because he rejected President Trump's demand that he overturn the election," Plaskett said, as rioters were seen shouting "Hang Mike Pence!" and taunting the speaker with cries of "Nancy, where are you, Nancy?" and "Nancy, we're looking for you!"
Plasket, who lived in a Brooklyn housing project as a child, briefly mentioned her life experiences as she submitted her arguments for impeachment.
“I've learned throughout my life that preparation and truth can carry you far. Can allow you to speak truth to power,” she said. “I've learned that as a young Black girl growing up in the projects in Brooklyn, housing community on St. Croix, sent to the most unlikeliest of settings and now as an adult woman representing an island territory speaking to the U.S. Senate.”
She was the only Black woman in the chamber Wednesday, NPR reported.
The surveillance videos unveiled by Plaskett showed the vice president, with his family, being rushed by Secret Service officers down a staircase to escape the insurgents calling for his death. Video of a gallows erected outside the Capitol by rioters was also shown, punctuated by screams of “Bring out Pence!” One mob member could be heard on video saying, “He’s a total treasonous pig.”
Pelosi’s staff members were seen barricading themselves in a conference room just moments before marauders tried to break down the door.
"As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family," Plaskett told a silent Senate. "And they were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber."
“President Trump put a target on their backs and his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down,” Plaskett said.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, also told senators that a mob came within just 58 steps of the senators’ escape route. Their intent, House managers said Wednesday, was to harm lawmakers and keep them from certifying the presidential electoral votes. They were incited by Trump's angry admonition to "fight like hell," in a speech delivered moments before the mob descended on the Capitol, House managers said.
Swalwell showed surveillance video of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, flanked by a guard with a drawn gun, abruptly reversing course and running down a ramp after nearly running into rampaging rioters.
Separate video showed Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, already hailed a hero for leading rioters away from lawmakers huddled in hiding, directing Sen. Mitt Romney away from danger as he ran to confront the mob.
Some senators appeared visibly shaken as they watched and listened to police radio transmissions, in which officers screamed for reinforcements and shouted they had been overwhelmed by rioters and were under attack.
The new evidence prompted some senators to stand up and point to themselves in the just-released security footage, Politico reported. The surveillance also showed Capitol Police officers creating a human barricade that allowed lawmakers to flee to safety.
“Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander in chief and became the inciter in chief of a dangerous insurrection,” Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead House manager, told the senators.
“He told them to ‘fight like hell,’” Raskin added, “and they brought us hell that day.”
The impeachment trial resumed Thursday.