New footage of the January 6 riots at the US Capitol has been released showing House speaker Nancy Pelosi calmly trying to take charge of the situation as she sheltered at Fort McNair, two miles south of the Capitol while a Trump inspired mob launched attacks at the Capitol building to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 win over Donald Trump.
In the footage, Pelosi and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer negotiate with governors and defence officials to try to get the national guard to the Capitol as police were being brutally beaten outside the building.
The deployment of the guard was delayed for hours as Trump stood by and did little to stop the violence of his supporters.
“There has to be some way,” she told colleagues, “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.”
Then an unidentified voice interjected with alarming news: lawmakers on the House floor had begun putting on teargas masks in preparation for a breach. Pelosi asked the woman to repeat what she said.
“Do you believe this?” Pelosi said to another Democratic leader, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.
The footage was from 2.45pm, when rioters had already disrupted the planned certification of the 2020 presidential election results. It would take hours before the building becane secure.
The recordings played for the House of Representatives on Thursday, October 13 offer a rare glimpse into the real-time reactions of the most powerful members of Congress as they scrambled to drum up support from all parts of the government, including from agencies seemingly ill prepared for the chaos, and vented anger over a president whose conduct they felt had endangered their lives.
As the violence persisted at the Capitol – “Officer down, get him up,” a voice could be heard bellowing in one clip shown by the committee – the leaders kept making calls from Fort McNair. One went to Virginia governor Ralph Northam about the possibility of help from the Virginia national guard, with Pelosi narrating the events based on what she saw from television news footage.