In this image from video during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate. AP
Impeachment prosecutors at Donald Trump's Senate trial on Wednesday aired terrifying as prosecutors unveiled chilling new security video in impeachment trial, showing the mob of rioters breaking into the Capitol, smashing windows and doors and searching menacingly for Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as overwhelmed police begged on their radios for help.
Never-before-seen footage of senior US politicians fleeing for their lives during last month's assault on Congress, a riot they argued was deliberately incited by the former president.
In the previously unreleased recordings, the House prosecutors displayed gripping scenes of how close the rioters were to the country’s leaders, roaming the halls chanting "Hang Mike Pence," some equipped with combat gear. Outside, the mob had set up a makeshift gallows, according to The Associated Press.
Former US president Donald Trump speaks to the media. File photo
Videos of the siege have been circulating since the day of the riot, but the graphic compilation amounted to a more complete narrative, a moment-by-moment retelling of one of the nation’s most alarming days. In addition to the evident chaos and danger, it offered fresh details on the attackers, scenes of police heroism and cries of distress. And it showed just how close the country came to a potential breakdown in its seat of democracy as Congress was certifying Trump’s election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.
With painstaking, graphic presentations, Democratic impeachment managers walked senators — many of them clearly shaken — through hours of video, some of which came from security cameras and police bodycams and was being aired for the first time.
The aim was to remind senators, and watching Americans, just how bad January 6 got when a mob stormed the US Capitol after Trump told a rally near the White House that his failure to win reelection was due to vote rigging.
The ensuing mayhem left five people dead, including one woman shot after she invaded the Capitol and one policeman killed by the crowd.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks to reporters in the Senate Reception Room in Washington. Reuters
Video played on the Senate floor showed then-vice president Mike Pence — who was in the Capitol to preside over certification of Joe Biden's defeat of Trump — being hurried down back stairs to safety by security officers, along with his family.
Top Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is seen narrowly dodging a rampaging throng of pro-Trump rioters. And Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican who often opposed Trump and was turned into a hate figure by the president, is seen being steered away by an officer at the last moment as an angry crowd approaches.
"They did it because Donald Trump sent them on this mission,” said House prosecutor Stacey Plaskett, the Democratic delegate representing the US Virgin Islands. "His mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down.”
Videos of the siege have been circulating since the day of the riot. File photo
The stunning presentation opened the first full day of arguments in the trial as the prosecutors argued Trump was no "innocent bystander” but rather the "inciter in chief” of the deadly Capitol riot, a president who spent months spreading election lies and building a mob of supporters primed for his call to stop Biden’s victory.Though most of the Senate jurors have already made up their minds on acquittal or conviction, they were riveted and sat silently. Screams from the audio and video filled the Senate chamber. Senators shook their heads, folded their arms and furrowed their brows. One Republican, James Lankford of Oklahoma, bent his head, a GOP colleague putting his hand on his arm in comfort.
Trump’s lawyers ridiculed the request in a letter by lead House prosecutor Jamie Raskin to answer questions over the Jan.6 attack on the US Capitol as a “public relations stunt.”
Senators voted 56-44 in favour of the constitutionality of the historic trial, rejecting a bid by Trump’s lawyers to throw it out on grounds that a former president cannot be tried by lawmakers.
Trump continued to attack McConnell, accusing the Senate GOP leader of failing to stand up for Republicans after McConnell blasted Trump for inciting the Jan.6 US Capitol riot despite voting to acquit the former president at his second impeachment trial.
The father, 45-year-old Roderick Randall, was arrested and charged with culpable negligence, unlawful possession of a firearm and concealment of evidence, Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said.
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