As a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, then Vice President Mike Pence made an urgent phone call to Christopher Miller, the acting defense secretary, pleading with him to “clear the Capitol,” according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.
The Associated Press reported on Saturday, that a previously undisclosed document reveals additional details about the urgent pleas made by Pence and others who sought to secure the Capitol as rioters descended on the complex.
The report comes days before lawmakers hear from the inspector general of the Capitol Police this coming week and fills in some of the unknowns about the riot, while capturing the swelling fear among lawmakers as Donald Trump, then president, failed to act and the nation’s law enforcement forces fumbled to respond.
It was hours into the swirling chaos that Trump finally tweeted for his followers to “go home and go in peace.”
Well before that, Pence, who had been imperiled himself, appealed to Miller. In a phone call that lasted less than a minute the former vice president demanded a deadline from military leaders on securing the building which had already been overwhelmed by the pro-Trump mob for more than two hours, according to the Associated Press report.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also appealed to military leaders requesting deployment of the National Guard.
Congressional leaders made a series of phone calls according to the Associated Press’ review of the document — and those calls escalated into more dire pleas over the course of more than an hour.
“We need help,” Schumer said, on a call more than an hour after the Senate chamber had been breached.
“Tell POTUS to tweet everyone should leave,” Schumer later told officials, in another call as the chaos continued.
“We must establish order,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, in a call with Pentagon leaders.
With Trump failing to call off his supporters, Pentagon officials, a small cohort of senior White House aides, Pelosi, Schumer and Pence, were left to handle the attack which was not contained for hours.
According to the timeline obtained by the Associated Press, military and law enforcement leaders struggled to put a plan into play as the Army as troops were called from their checkpoints, given new gear and directed to new tasks.
After the military plan was finalized, but before National Guard troops had arrived at the Capitol, congressional leaders again phoned Pentagon leaders, asking Miller to secure the perimeter.
During the call which lasted more than 30 minutes, congressional leaders involved reportedly accused “the National Security apparatus of knowing that protestors planned to conduct an assault on the Capitol.”
Hours later, Pence reopened the Senate proceedings telling rioters they had not won and encouraging lawmakers with the words, “let’s get back to work.”