US Capitol rioters 'planned to kill Pence and Pelosi' impeachment trial hears as never before seen footage shown

Video report by ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy

Donald Trump's impeachment trial has been shown never before seen footage of the US Capitol riots as the mob searched for then Vice-President Mike Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The trial heard how the pair were the "target" for the insurrectionists, with court documents suggesting rioters planned to kill Mr Pence and put a bullet through the skull of Speaker Pelosi.

The chilling accounts were read out to Senators on Wednesday on the opening day of the trial, as prosecutors make the case the former president was no “innocent bystander” but was the “inciter in chief” during the riots aimed at overturning the result of the US presidential election.

In a minute by minute reconstruction of the day, senators were shown how close the rioters got to the country’s leaders, as they combed through the Capitol building.

Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6. Credit: AP

Five people died during the riots, and Democrats have been outlining the case against the former President that he watched with “glee” as protesters stormed the building where Senators had been ratifying the electoral college vote.

As the trial continued, those watching were warned that video content shown would be "extremely disturbing" and contain "graphic violence".

ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy said: “We had presented to the court today some legally-sworn documents from those in detention who had been part of the riot, they were very chilling.

“One of them said that if they managed to get their hands on Mike Pence, the former vice president, they would have killed him.

“Another said that they were looking for Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House, in the hope of putting a bullet in her head.”

Watch ITV News' report from inside the Capitol building on January 6:

Footage shown from inside the chamber on January 6 also showed how police blocked a corridor to allow for politicians to escape the mob - with only 58 steps between the two.

Shouts of "take off your pins" could be heard - referencing the badges which denote members of Congress.

In one scene, a Capitol Police officer redirects Senator Mitt Romney down a hallway to avoid the mob.

It was the same officer, Eugene Goodman, who has been praised as a hero for having lured rioters away from the Senate doors.

“It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes,” Romney said after watching the video - he said he didn’t realise how close he had been to danger.

Senators were shown footage in which a police officer can be heard saying: "This is effectively a riot".

The video was from 13:49 on the afternoon of January 6 - around half an hour before America's top lawmakers and politicians, including Vice-President Pence, were evacuated from the building.

In another audio recording, officers could be heard, panicked, calling for reinforcements: "We need units. We're surrounded ... They are behind our lines."

Members of the Proud Boys group have been identified at the US Capitol riots on January 6. Credit: AP

Rep Stacey Plaskett detailed the ordered attack on Congress in her evidence, she told the trial: "It was an attack on our Republic, an attack on our democracy."Much of Wednesday's evidence had not yet been released and was the first time it was being aired publicly.

Rep Plaskett told senators the footage reminded her of the 9/11 terror attack that shook America - she was, at the time, working as a staffer in Congress.

She paid tribute to the people who "gave their lives" to stop Flight 93 from crashing into the Capitol building on that day in 2001.

Rep Plaskett said the events of January 6 reminded her of the threat to the Capitol during the 9/11 terror attacks. Credit: AP

The Democrat also outlined how the insurrectionists were "talking about assassinating the Vice-President of the United States".

Rep Plaskett outlined how Mr Pence "never left the Capitol building" and was locked down with his family throughout the riot.

The Senate was played clips of Trump supporters chanting "hang Mike Pence":

"The mob was looking for Vice-President Pence because of his patriotism," Rep Plaskett said, "because the the Vice-President had refused to do what the president demand and overturn the election results.

The politician said journalists on the ground during the insurrection "hear rioters say they were looking for Pence, in order to execute him".

Rep Plaskett showed images of the gallows Trump supporters had erected on the lawn outside the US Capitol building.

The moment then Vice-President Mike Pence was evacuated from the chamber:

On the storming of Speaker Pelosi's office, Rep Plaskett said "the insurrectionist intent to murder the Speaker of the House is well documented" on that, and their storming of Speaker Polisi's office, she said: "They did it because Donald Trump sent them on this mission".

"During the siege, the Speaker's staff took cover in her office - hiding in fear for their lives for hours. As rioters broke in and ransacked her office.

The representative detailed how Ms Pelosi's staff fled to a side room as rioters neared the Speaker's office.

Giving her evidence, Rep Madeleine Dean said of Trump: "He was no longer telling his base just that they had to fight to 'stop the steal' - he was finally telling them, 'now is the time to do it, here's the place, here's how.'"

She recalled being in the Chamber on January 6 and being told to "duck, lie down, ready your gas masks".

Rep Dean said: "Shortly after there was a terrifying banging on the Chamber doors - I will never forget that sound."

Giving her evidence, the Democrat's voice grew shaky with emotion.

Rep. Jamie Raskin became emotional as he spoke about his experience of the Capitol riots. Credit: Senate Television

On the opening day of the proceedings, Democrat Jamie Raskin told fellow lawmakers: “To us it may have felt like chaos and madness, but there was method to the madness that day.”

He continued: "This was, as one of our colleagues put it so cogently on January 6 itself, 'the greatest betrayal of the presidential oath in the history of the United States'."

Trump is the first president to face an impeachment trial after leaving office and is the first to be impeached twice.

The riot followed a rally during which Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell,” words his lawyers say were simply a figure of speech.

He is charged with “incitement of insurrection.”

Senators, many of whom fled for safety the day of the attack, watched Tuesday’s graphic videos of the Trump supporters who battled past police to storm the halls, Trump flags waving.

Democrat Joe Neguse told Senators that Trump knew what would happen when he gave his speech to supporters outside the White House.

“When they heard his speech, they understood his words.”

Lead defence lawyer Bruce Castor said he shifted his planned approach after hearing the prosecutors’ emotional opening and instead spoke conversationally to the senators, saying Trump’s team would denounce the “repugnant” attack and “in the strongest possible way denounce the rioters.”

He encouraged the senators to be “cool headed” as they assessed the arguments.

Six Republicans joined with Democrats to vote to proceed with the trial, but the 56-44 vote was far from the two-thirds threshold of 67 votes that would be needed for conviction.