Capitol Rioters Were 'About One Minute' from Reaching Vice President Mike Pence: Report

Sean Neumann
·4 min read

congress.gov via Getty Images Vice President Mike Pence

A new article details just how close Vice President Mike Pence came to crossing paths with rioters inside the U.S. Capitol building last week.

During the deadly chaos, Pence was escorted to safety roughly 60 seconds before the mob stepped foot onto a landing in the Senate, according to a Washington Post report published Friday.

The newspaper spoke with law enforcement officials familiar with the details and corroborated their timeline with video taken during the storming of the Capitol by President Donald Trump's supporters.

A spokesman for Pence, 61, did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment on the details of his evacuation or how close the rioters were able to come to the vice president last week.

A Secret Service spokesperson said: "While the Secret Service does not speak specifically about the means and methods of our protective operations, Vice President Pence was secure at all times on Jan. 6."

The scene according to the Post's reporting was that "about one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing in the Senate.

The newspaper added that Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and their daughter "had just ducked into a hideaway less than 100 feet from that landing" moments before.

Pence was later moved to a secure location within the Capitol complex, according to the Post report, but it's unclear how long it took the Secret Service to move the vice president from his office to the undisclosed spot.

Meanwhile, some rioters — apparently incensed by Trump's criticism that the vice president had failed to overturn the election — chanted that they wanted to "hang Mike Pence."

Some members of Congress have spoken out since the insurrection, saying they feared for their safety.

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Tasos Katopodis/Getty Rioters at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Rioters breach the U.S. Capitol

Federal prosecutors in Arizona wrote in a filing this week that they believe there's "strong evidence" which "supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government."

Federal officials also said this week they expect "hundreds" of arrests stemming from the riot, potentially including "significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy."

Five people died in the violence, including a Capitol police officer.

Trump, 74, was impeached for a second time on Wednesday for his role in inciting the riot.

The president had aggressively pressured Pence to overturn the 2020 election results, which Trump has spent months furiously and fruitlessly contesting in courts and in public. Pence informed Trump in a letter before Congress gathered to certify the 2020 results that he didn't have the constitutional capacity to do what the president had asked.

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"Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country," Trump said at a rally on Jan. 6 whose attendees then marched on the Capitol. He framed his election loss as an "egregious assault on our democracy."

Trump told his supporters to "fight like hell" and encouraged them to go to the Capitol. Though he told them to do so "peacefully and patriotically" he also spoke in grave terms of his supporters' obligation.

"We fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore," he said at one point.

As the riot unfolded, he praised the mob as "very special" even as he told them to go home and be peaceful.

Hours later, once law enforcement was able to clear rioters from the Capitol and secure the building, Pence and members of Congress reconvened and cemented President-elect Joe Biden's election.

"You did not win," Pence said then, addressing the rioters directly once the joint session continued. "Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people's house."