New footage from January 6 shows Pelosi leading as crisis unfolded

WASHINGTON (AP) — As rioters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took refuge in a safe place and tried to do what her job demands: take charge of a situation.

“There has to be some way,” he told his colleagues, “we can maintain the sense that people have that there is some security or some confidence that the government can work and that the president of the United States can be elected.”

Then an unidentified voice chimed in with startling news: Lawmakers in the House had begun donning tear gas masks in preparation for a breach. Startled, Pelosi asked the woman to repeat what she said.

“Do you believe this?” Pelosi said in disbelief to another Democratic leader, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

It was around 2:45 p.m., and the violent cacophony had already disrupted the planned certification of the 2020 presidential election results. It would be hours before the building was secure.

At one point, Pelosi said of President Donald Trump, “I’m going to punch him out.”

Never-before-seen video sequences are played Thursday by the January 6 committee of the House of Representativesand later on CNN, showed Pelosi and other leaders, including Trump’s Republican allies, responding with anxiety and anger to the insurgency.

The recordings offer a rare look at the real-time reactions of the most powerful members of Congress as they struggled to win support from all parts of the government, including agencies seemingly unprepared for chaos, and expressed anger at a president whose conduct they felt had endangered their lives.

In the videos, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer negotiate with governors and defense officials to try to get the National Guard into the Capitol as police were brutally beaten outside the building.

The Guard’s deployment was delayed for hours because Trump stood by and did little to stop his supporters’ violence.

The footage, shot by Pelosi’s daughter Alexandra, a documentary filmmaker, was shown during the tenth committee hearing as an illustration of the president’s inaction in the face of the grave danger rioters pose to lawmakers forced to hide inside.

“As the president watched the bloody attack on Fox News from his dining room, members of Congress and other government officials stepped into the gigantic leadership vacuum created by the president’s chilling and constant passivity that day,” said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin. from Maryland. , committee member.

The concerns were not theoretical. Around 3 p.m., when a Trump loyalist outside Pelosi’s office pointed a finger and yelled, “We’ll go in if you don’t get her out,” the speaker was huddled elsewhere in a room with Schumer, who said, “I I’m going to call the fucking secretary of the Department of Defense.”

And so he did, telling Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller over speakerphone that senators were still in hiding and imploring him to send in the Maryland National Guard. Pelosi chimed in, saying that he, too, was going to call the mayor of Washington, DC, for help.

As the violence raged outside — “Officer down, pick him up,” a voice could be heard bellowing in a clip shown by the committee — leaders continued to make calls inside. One was to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam about the possibility of getting help from the Virginia National Guard, and Pelosi narrated the events based on what he saw on television news footage.

A more angry call with Jeffrey Rosen, the then-acting attorney general, followed. Days earlier, and unknown to Congress or the public at the time, Rosen and his colleagues had rebuffed a careless attempt by Trump to replace him with a minion eager to challenge the election results.

That day, however, Schumer and Pelosi sat shoulder to shoulder on the couch and vented their frustrations with the nation’s top law enforcement official.

“They are breaking the law in many different ways,” Pelosi said. “And frankly, largely at the instigation of the President of the United States.”

Schumer also chimed in, shaking his head to the side for emphasis: “Yeah, why don’t you have the President tell you to leave the Capitol, Mr. Attorney General, on your law enforcement responsibilities? A public statement that everyone should go.”

In a clip that later aired on CNN, Pelosi was told that the Secret Service had discouraged Trump from going to Capitol Hill.

“If he comes, I’m going to hit him,” Pelosi replied. “I’ve been waiting for this. For trespassing on Capitol grounds, I’m going to beat him up. And I’m going to jail, and I’m going to be happy.”

It was not until evening that the Capitol was cleared and work resumed. News that Congress might reconvene to finish its job of certifying election results was delivered to congressional leaders not by Trump but by Vice President Mike Pence.

After a very bad day, Schumer had two words: “Good news.”

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Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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