Impeachment trial: Mitt Romney flees for his life and Proud Boys smash into Capitol in disturbing new video

Impeachment trial: Mitt Romney flees for his life and Proud Boys smash into Capitol in disturbing new video


Impeachment trial: Mitt Romney flees for his life and Proud Boys smash into Capitol in disturbing new video

Impeachment trial: Mitt Romney flees for his life and Proud Boys smash into Capitol in disturbing new video

Senator Mitt Romney was seen running for his life after Proud Boys and other rioters smashed their way into the US Capitol in previously unseen video footage played at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The footage, taken from the Capitol security footage and containing no sound, showed the Utah senator, running down a corridor, told to flee by Capitol Hill police officer Eugene Goodman.

Mr Romney had previously been walking, but after being spoken to by the officer, he was seen to turn and run the other way. Moments earlier, scores of protesters, at least one of them carrying a baseball bat and wearing full tactical gear, were seen smashing their way into the building.

While many of the shocking violence and chaos that erupted on January 6, after hundreds of Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the legislature building as it met to ratify Joe Biden’s electoral win had been seen before, many of those had not.

Video shows crowd responding to Trump speech by chanting ‘Take the Capitol’

Other footage, not previously seen, showed Officer Goodman leading the rioters away from Vice President Pence as they yelled that they wanted to kill him. Democratic senator Chuck Schumer of New York was also seen fleeing for safety, as hundreds of rioters stormed into the building.

“Where are they counting the votes?” they yelled at one point. Mr Goodman could be heard to say: “Don’t do it. Don’t do it.”

As the footage was played to the Senate, Mr Romney tweeted his thanks to the officer, saying: “We appreciate your bravery and service, Officer Eugene Goodman!!

As he left the chamber he was asked by reporters about what he had just watched and said: “It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing.”

Asked if he knew the officer who had saved him was Mr Goodman, he said he did not. “I look forward to thanking him.”

Congressman Eric Swalwell, one of the Democrats acting as “prosecutors” as the Senate hears the case, played the chamber the footage and said the rioters had been just 58 paces away from where the senators were.

What Mr Trump did, said the congressman, was widely different to any of the challenges to Mr Biden launched by members of the Senate. 

“This was a deliberate and premeditated incitement to his base to attack our capitol and stop the counting going on inside,” he said. “And this was foreseeable, especially to President Trump – who warned us it was coming.

Several of the Democrats wiped tears from their eyes as they recounted the events of the day, when the Capitol was stormed “on our watch”.

Stacey Plaskett, who represents the US Virgin Islands, played video showing the view of the rioters as they stormed into the building, just hours after Mr Trump held a “Stop the Steal” rally on the National Mall, and repeated again his false claim the election had been rigged.

“During the assault on the Capitol, extremists reportedly coordinated online and discussed how they could hunt down the vice president. Journalists in the Capitol reported they heard rioters say they were looking for Pence in order to execute him,” said Ms Plaskett, 

The footage showed Mr Pence and his family quickly moving down the stairs. The vice president turned around briefly in the video. During the same time frame, rioters were spreading throughout the building, Ms Plaskett added.

“As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family, and they were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber,” she said.

In one video shown, the crowd can be heard chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they stood in the open door of the Capitol building. A photo showed a gallow outside on the lawn.

“After President Trump had primed his followers for months and inflamed the rally-goers that morning, it is no wonder that the Vice President of the United States was the target of their wrath, after Pence refused to overturn the election results,” she said.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper tweeted to point out that at almost the precise moment Mr Pence was timestamped being led to safety, Mr Trump had tweeted that “he did not have the courage to do what was needed” to protect the country.

Last month, seven days before he left office, Mr Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, which found he was responsible for “inciting insurrection”, by his speech on the National Mall on the morning of January 6, as a joint session of Congress was set to affirm the electoral college votes of all of the 50 states. It marked the final step to clear before Mr Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

On Tuesday, Democrats had outlined their broad case against the president, who remains the only person to be twice impeached.

On Wednesday, with a close attention to detail, they sought to show a direct link between Mr Trump words, and the events that shocked the world. For months, they said, he had told his supporters the election victory belonged to them, and then on January 6, he told them the only way to protect their country was to “fight like hell”.

“The evidence will show you that ex-president Trump was no bystander,” said congressman Jamie Raskin, who is leading the prosecution in the Senate.  

“The evidence will show that he clearly incited the January 6 insurrection.”

He added: “It will show that Donald Trump surrendered his role of commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief.”

Democrats said Mr Trump’s language and the words he used repeatedly to claim, falsely, the election was rigged, were chosen to intentionally antagonise and fire up his supporters. 

They also said that when Mr Trump had the opportunity to stop the violence he is accused of inciting on January, he rather posted a video message in which he told his supporters how much he “loved” them.

“Evidence will show you that he assembled inflamed, and incited his followers to descend upon the Capitol, to “stop the steal”,  block Vice President Pence, and Congress from finalising his opponent’s election victory over him,” said Mr Raskin.

Additional reporting by Associated Press


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