Pence’s security feared for lives as Trump ignored pleas to call off riot, witnesses say | National politics

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Capitol Riot Investigation

Sarah Matthews, former White House deputy press secretary, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 21, 2022.




A former White House official described as an employee with national security responsibilities told the select committee investigating Jan. 6 that former Vice President Mike Pence’s security detail feared for their lives.

The committee obscured the voice of the White House official, citing potential retribution. Before revealing the official’s testimony, the panel presented 11 minutes of a National Security Council chat log, in which officials said Pence was “being pulled” from the House floor after a breach.

“Members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives,” the official said. “There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing. I don’t like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth. It was getting — for whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.”

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The official told the committee that Secret Service agents were reassuring one another and talking about bringing in enforcements over the radio. “But again, it was just chaos,” he said. “It was just yelling.”

The official said he entered the message about Secret Service at the Capitol into the NSC chat log because “if they’re running out of options, and they’re getting nervous, it sounds, like, that we came very close to either Service having to use lethal options or worse.”

“At that point, I don’t know. Is the VP compromised?” he said. “Is the detail — like, I don’t know. Like, we didn’t have visibility, but if they’re screaming and saying things like, ‘Say goodbye the family,’ like, the floor needs to know this is going to a whole ‘nother level soon.”