WASHINGTON — Dramatic new footage shown at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial shows Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman frantically warning Sen. Mitt Romney to take cover shortly before Goodman faced off against a crowd of rioters.
Goodman has already become a heroic figure for facing off against people who had just stormed the Capitol, drawing them away from the Senate chamber.
Unseen security footage shown by Democrats at the impeachment trial Wednesday shows Goodman running through the halls moments before that confrontation when he passed Romney exiting the Senate chamber. There is no audio on the security footage, but Goodman can be seen waving his arms at Romney, directing him to seek cover. Romney, who had been walking quickly, breaks into a run in the opposite direction and moves out of frame. Romney told reporters he didn't realize at the time that Goodman was the one who had warned him away and that he hadn't seen the video before Democrats played it on Wednesday.
Goodman directs Romney away from the rioters
At the time, rioters had already broken windows and were pouring into the building one floor below. Goodman then ran down the stairs to confront the crowd. Vastly outnumbered, Goodman steadily retreated, leading the crowd away from the Senate chamber and into a hallway where other Capitol Police officers could finally block the advance of the rioters.
House impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett revealed that at the time, then–vice president Mike Pence was sheltering in a nearby room just outside the Senate chamber. Plaskett played never-before-seen security footage of Pence being evacuated from the Capitol, with a map of just how close he had been to Goodman and the rioters at the time.
“As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family,” she said.
Other senators were inside the Senate chamber itself, with the crowd of rioters directly outside. Plaskett's video showed Pence, his family, and his staff evacuating the second floor, moving down a flight of stairs. At the time, the rioters were facing off against the Capitol Police on the other side of the Senate chamber.
Pence evacuates the Capitol as Goodman leads rioters down the hall away from him
“The mob was looking for Vice President Pence because of his patriotism, because the vice president refused to do what the president demanded and overturn the election results,” said Plaskett. “Extremists reportedly coordinated online and discussed how they could hunt down the vice president. Journalists in the Capitol reported they heard rioters say they were looking for Pence in order to execute him.”
Plaskett then showed a photo of a gallows brought to the lawn of the Capitol by rioters, then a video of people storming the Capitol chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
Impeachment manager Eric Swalwell showed footage of senators hurriedly evacuating the Senate chamber not long after, some of them running. They then moved down a hallway near where Goodman had recently headed off rioters, according to Swalwell. He emphasized that the public had not previously known how close senators and Pence had come to the rioters on Jan. 6.
Senators running to evacuate after rioters breached the Capitol
“As you were moving through that hallway — I paced it off — you were just 58 steps away from where the mob was amassing and where police were rushing to stop them,” he said.
Swalwell then showed footage of Chuck Schumer, now the Senate majority leader, having a near miss, coming just yards away from a group of rioters. Schumer is seen walking up a ramp in the Senate basement with his security detail. Moments later, Schumer and his guards run back in the opposite direction, and police close and lock a door behind them.
Sen. Chuck Schumer and his detail flee after nearly running into rioters
Democrats also played new footage of the initial breach of the Capitol on the Senate side of the building where, Plaskett noted, several members of the Proud Boys (a far-right extremist group that Trump told to "stand back and stand by" during a September debate) were among the first to get inside. "The second man through the window is wearing full, tactical body armor and is carrying a baseball bat," she said.