House committee’s third public hearing will focus on Trump efforts to convince vice president to reject results
A previously unreleased photograph obtained by ABC News shows then-Vice President Mike Pence and his family in hiding after they were evacuated from the floor of the US Senate as a mob breached the US Capitol and stormed the halls of Congress on 6 January, 2021.
The image shows Mr Pence with then-Second Lady Karen Pence, his brother, US Rep Greg Pence, and the former vice president’s daughter Charlotte inside a ceremonial office near the Senate floor. Ms Pence can be seen drawing curtains to the office.
That photograph was reportedly taken after the mob – fuelled by Donald Trump’s baseless assertion that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him – had already broken inside the building, where rioters chanted “hang Mike Pence” and threatened legislators during a joint session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s victory.
Earlier that day, Mr Pence had indicated he would not indulge demands from Mr Trump’s allies to reject electoral votes to ensure his victory; the former president then said on Twitter that his vice president “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution”.
The former vice president’s official photographer, Myles Cullen, who was working alongside Mr Pence through the attack, was responsible for the images, which had previously been described in Jonathan Karl’s book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show but not released publicy.
Their release comes before the House select committee charged with investigating the events leading up to and surrounding the assault prepares for a third public hearing, which is expected to focus on the pressure campaign mounted against Mr Pence by Mr Trump and his allies to overturn the results.
A select committee aide told reporters that the hearing on 16 June will dive into the spurious bid to influence the former vice president “even as advice was swirling around the White House saying that the scheme was illegal, it was totally baseless.”
“We’re going to show that that pressure campaign directly contributed to the attack on the Capitol, and it put the Vice President’s life in danger,” said the aide, adding that the panel plans to present “new material that documented that day,” as well as evidence documenting Mr Pence’s movements before and during the riot.
The hearing will also include live testimony from two witnesses, including J Michael Luttig, a renowned conservative legal scholar and retired federal appellate judge who advised Mr Pence that he was unauthorised to unilaterally overturn the results of the election, and Greg Jacob, who served as Mr Pence’s White House lawyer at the time of the attack.
During Mr Trump’s second impeachment, members of Congress were shown then-previously unreleased security footage of Mr Pence and his family being evacuated from the Senate chamber from an adjoining office, as another video appeared to show US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman leading a mob away from the chamber doors.
The footage shows Mr Pence and his family descending stairs below the Senate chambers, as a mob demanded to know where he was after he refused to overturn the results hours earlier. Officer Goodman was on the opposite side of the Senate doors steering away the mob shortly after rioters broke through windows on the Senate side of the Capitol.
He testified this week in a related federal criminal trial that members of the mob told him “this is our America” and demanded to know “where are they counting the votes at” and “where the F are the members at”.
In another photo obtained by ABC News, Mr Pence is seen with his daughter Charlotte working on a speech he would later give to the joint session of Congress when it reconvened later that night, hours after the mob ransacked the Capitol, to certify the results of the election.
“Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” he said in his remarks that night. “The Capitol is secured, and the people’s work continues.”