House Democrats prosecuting Donald Trump’s impeachment trial for inciting the deadly siege of the Capitol highlighted through video on Wednesday how members of the pro-Trump mob searched the building for his vice president, chanting: “Hang Mike Pence!”
Previously unseen security videos showed the view from inside the Capitol as rioters smashed windows and fought with police on Jan. 6, coming within 100 feet (30 m) of the room where Pence was sheltering with his family. The mob had set up a gallows outside.
The House of Representatives has charged Trump, a Republican, with inciting an insurrection by exhorting thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol on the day Congress was gathered to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
The rioters stormed the building, sending lawmakers into hiding and leaving five people dead, including a police officer.
The security footage highlighted the fact that hundreds of Trump supporters who attacked the building in an attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power targeted Republicans – whose votes will be needed to convict Trump.
“The mob was looking for Vice President Pence,” Representative Stacey Plaskett said, narrating footage that showed the crowd chanting: “Hang Mike Pence!” and searching for Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“President Trump put a target on their backs and then his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down,” she said.
Trump had repeatedly said Pence had the power to stop the certification of the election results, even though he did not.
The Democratic House managers prosecuting the case for impeachment, an uphill task in an narrowly divided Senate, said on Wednesday that Trump planted the seeds for the riot by encouraging violence and making false claims the election was stolen long before Jan. 6.
“Trump realized last spring that he could lose the November election and began planting seeds of anger among his supporters by saying he could lose only if it was stolen,” said Representative Joseph Neguse.
“If we are to protect our republic and prevent something like this from ever happening again, he must be convicted.”