Terrified Secret Service agents left messages for family members
Members of the US Secret Service were unsure of their ability to successfully protect Mike Pence during the January 6 attack and left emotional messages for their families as the riot drew closer, the Jan 6 committee revealed on Thursday.
The shocking revelation is one of the most damaging of the hearings so far: The vice president’s own security team was fleeing in terror from the president’s supporters through the Capital as those same supporters who voted for Mr Pence in November chanted death threats against him.
An anonymous official described as working in security for the White House characterised the radio transmissions during this time as “disturbing”, stating that as rioters grew closer, the VP’s team began making “very personal” messages over their radios.
“The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives,” said the unnamed White House security official. “There were calls to say goodbye to family members.”
The committee also showed footage of Mr Pence being evacuated to a secure location during the attack and how close rioters came to encountering the lightly-protected VP in the halls of Congress.
Thursday’s hearing focused entirely on the actions of the president and his team during the attack itself. Lawmakers exposed how the president very clearly chose not to act during the attack for hours, even as he learned within minutes of it beginning that Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress were in serious danger.
The president eventually released a statement urging his supporters to leave the Capitol hours after the attack began.
The news that Mr Pence was not willing to join the effort to overturn the election was also exposed on Thursday as a driving factor that enraged the pro-Trump crowd and drove many into the Capital building itself.