Political News

Washington Post: Pence closer than initially known to the violent mob during US Capitol storming

Posted January 15, 2021 11:55 a.m. EST

— Vice President Mike Pence came closer than initially known to the mob of pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, according to new reporting from the Washington Post.

CNN previously reported and video footage showed that a lone US Capitol Police officer had lured rioters away from the entrance of the Senate chambers at 2:14 p.m. ET on January 6, where Pence and lawmakers had been conducting the ceremonial counting of the 2020 electoral votes.

Senators were alerted that protesters had breached the Capitol building just one minute earlier, according to CNN's timeline of events from last Wednesday's riot. Pence wouldn't be evacuated from the Senate until 2:30 p.m.

The Post's report of how close the rioters were to Pence stresses the level of danger he and other government leaders faced during the January 6 insurrection. Some of the pro-Trump rioters who rampaged the US Capitol were heard screaming "where's Mike Pence" and seen on video shouting "hang Mike Pence" — upset that Pence was doing his constitutional duty to certify the November election results.

Pence, per the Post, remained in the Senate chamber for about 14 minutes after Capitol Police reported the initial attempted breach of the building.

The vice president, along with second lady Karen Pence and their daughter Charlotte Pence Bond, were then rushed into a room near the Senate floor.

About one minute after Pence was moved, the Post said, a handful of the rioters made it up the stairs to reach the second floor landing outside the Senate entrance. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman heroically led the group of rioters in the opposite direction, away from the Senate chambers' entrance.

Pence and his family were in a hideaway "less than 100 feet from that landing," the Post reported, citing three people familiar with his whereabouts.

If the rioters had arrived seconds earlier, they would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office, the Post suggested, adding that Pence later was moved to a more secure location.

CNN has reached out to the Vice President's office for comment.

US Secret Service told CNN in a statement Friday that Pence was "secure at all times."

"While the Secret Service does not speak specifically about the means and methods of our protective operations, Vice President Pence was secure at all times on Jan. 6," a USSS spokesperson said.

The report, former Secret Service agent and CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow said, "speaks to the unpredictable and dynamic nature of executive protection, where any delay in action by agents can have dire consequences."

Wackrow continued, "The agents in this situation rely on their training, tactics and experience to ensure the safety of the Vice President. It may be easy for those who do not understand protective operations to question the actions on this day; however, as an expert, I can attest that the actions by the VP's Detail and the Counter Assault Team agents guaranteed the safety of those involved."

CNN previously reported that the Secret Service wanted Pence to leave the Capitol complex, and everything was in place, but Pence wanted to remain on site, according to a source familiar. The source told CNN that Pence's Secret Service detail remained with him through the entire ordeal.

A rioter was later photographed sitting in Pence's chair after some protesters breached the Senate chamber.

Many lawmakers have since shared their experiences during those hours that they sheltered in place, fearing for their lives, and subsequent arrests and criminal charges have added to a growing understanding of how much a threat the mob posed to lawmakers.

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