WASHINGTON — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has threatened to deliver a fatal blow to then-President Donald Trump if he joins his supporters as they march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“If he comes, I’ll hit him,” she said in never-before-seen video footage that aired on CNN Thursday night. “I’ve been waiting for this. For trespassing on Capitol grounds, I’m going to hit him. And I’m going to go to jail, and I’m going to be happy.”
It was, in fact, Pelosi who faced the risk of violence in the hours that followed, as an angry armed mob chased her through the halls of the Capitol, ransacked her office, stole her laptop, smeared excrement on the wall and delayed the peaceful transfer of power.
Videos filmed by documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, the speaker’s daughter, showed Democratic and Republican leaders taking refuge in Fort McNair and making frantic calls, virtually begging for help from federal authorities. They were filling a leadership void left by Trump as he watched the violence unfold on television and failed to act for nearly four hours, multiple witnesses testified.
Other highlights from the video include:
- A conversation between then-Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi, the two top federal officials in the post-presidential succession
- The best Republican and Democrat in the Senate – Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. — pleading with the military to send troops to the Capitol, Schumer saying ‘life and bodily integrity’ were at stake
- Pelosi’s pleas to governors and Democratic House Leader Steny Hoyer are trying to get county police to respond to the Capitol from his home state of Maryland
- The bipartisan push by top Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to complete the count and ensure Joe Biden’s legal election has been certified.
“I’m going to call DOD Secretary Effin,” Schumer said Jan. 6, 2021, as he dialed numbers on a phone to call Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller.
Congressional leaders also called on acting attorney general Jeff Rosen and the governors of Maryland and Virginia.
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“Imagine it was the Pentagon,” Pelosi pleaded over the phone, as rioters chased her through the halls of the Capitol and entered her office. “Imagine it was the White House.”
She was primarily concerned that day with certification of Biden’s election victory.
“If they stop the procedure, we will have totally failed,” she said, referring to the armed crowd that stormed into the Capitol. “We have to complete the procedure, otherwise they will have a complete victory.”
This process was delayed for hours.
As the situation outside the Capitol and in its halls grew more serious, Pelosi’s comments changed with the times.
“They break windows and come in, obviously trashing our offices and everything else. It’s nothing,” Pelosi said. “Our concern for personal safety transcends everything.”
Her concerns were evident when she had a phone conversation with Pence, who was hiding in a loading dock under the Capitol.
“I’m worried you’re in that Capitol room,” she told him over the phone. “Don’t let anyone know where you are.”
Democrats were joined in the video by Republican Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, and the senses. McConnell, Chuck Grassley and John Thune. Together they called the Department of Defense and requested that troops be deployed to the Capitol.
While on the phone with Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, McConnell urged him to send troops to the Capitol.
They have to get there “in a hell of a hurry, you know? McConnell said.
“We need them there now, whoever you have,” Schumer said.
More never-before-seen footage of Alexandra Pelosi will air on CNN at 8 p.m. Friday.
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Candy Woodall is a congressional reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.