As the Capitol was being stormed on Jan. 6, 2021, law enforcement officers were being beaten unconscious and members of Vice President Mike Pence’s Secret Service detail feared for their lives. But President Donald Trump opted against taking action, an intentional decision that the House select committee investigating the attack contended was just one of several ways Trump violated his oath of office and showed he was responsible for the insurrection.
The panel’s eighth public hearing — led by Reps. Elaine Luria, D-Va., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. — on Thursday night was the culmination of a series of blockbuster and dramatic summer presentations that collectively have showed how Trump sought to stop lawmakers’ counting of the state electoral votes, summoned a mob of his supporters to Washington and then chose not to mitigate the violence at the Capitol for three hours.
Trump “watched TV, tweeted, called senators to try to delay the count of electoral votes, called Rudy Giuliani and argued with his staff who were insisting that he should call off the attack,” Luria said, referring to his former personal attorney.
On Jan. 6, as rioters broke into the Capitol around 2:13 p.m., members of Pence’s Secret Service detail were scrambling to get him to safety, coming within feet of the angry mob. The agents held Pence in his office, just off the Senate floor, for 13 minutes as they worked to clear a safe path to a secure location.
The situation was so precarious that agents were “starting to fear for their own lives,” and made “calls to say goodbye to family members,” according to a White House security official who spoke to the committee with his identity masked. The Secret Service detail thought “this was about to get very ugly,” the official said. At 2:26 p.m., Pence was rushed out of his office to a secure location.