Never-before-seen footage, obtained exclusively by CNN, shows in vivid new detail how congressional leaders fled the US Capitol on Jan. 6 and transformed a nearby military base into a command center, where they frantically coordinated with Vice President Mike Pence and Trump Cabinet members to quell the insurrection and finish certifying the 2020 election.
The Jan. 6 select committee aired snippets of the footage at its public hearing on Thursday, but CNN has obtained roughly an hour of additional material that wasn’t presented by the panel.
Congressional leaders contemplated, far more seriously than previously known, whether to reconvene the Electoral College proceedings at Fort McNair, the footage obtained by CNN reveals. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Pence about the “backup plan,” and officials tried to figure out how they’d transport hundreds of lawmakers to the Army base.
The extended raw footage shines a devastating light on then-President Donald Trump’s inaction during the riot. Lawmakers are seen working around Trump to secure any help they could get — from the National Guard, federal agencies and local police departments — to defeat the mob he incited.
The footage was captured by Alexandra Pelosi, a documentary filmmaker and daughter of the Democratic speaker of the House. The filmmaker provided some of her behind-the-scenes footage to the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the insurrection.
In one dramatic scene, then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shouted at the Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, after hearing a rumor that Trump blocked the DC National Guard from rushing to the Capitol.
“I’d like to know a good God damn reason why it’s been denied,” Schumer said. “Please — the whole Capitol is rampaged. There is a picture of someone sitting in the chair of the Senate. We’ve all been evacuated. There have been shots fired. We need a full National Guard component, now.”
McCarthy then assures Schumer that there was no stand-down order for the National Guard.
And in another shocking moment, Schumer and Pelosi are seen talking to the acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. In a heated phone call, Schumer told Rosen that federal authorities should “make arrests, starting now,” but Rosen only offered a halting, non-committal response.