After the Speech: What Trump Did as the Capitol Was Attacked


At 2:12 p.m., the same moment that the mob breached the building itself, Mr. Pence — who had defied the president by saying he planned to certify Mr. Biden’s victory — was rushed off the Senate floor. A minute later, the Senate session was recessed. Two minutes after that, at 2:15 p.m., groups of rioters began to chant, “Hang Mike Pence!”

Nine minutes later, at 2:24 p.m., Mr. Trump tweeted a broadside at Mr. Pence for moving ahead to certify Mr. Biden’s win: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

At 2:26 p.m., after Mr. Pence had been whisked away, a call was placed from the White House to Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, according to call logs that the senator provided during the impeachment proceedings.

The president had made the call, but he was actually looking for Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama. Mr. Lee gave the phone to Mr. Tuberville, who has told reporters that he informed Mr. Trump that Mr. Pence had just been escorted out as the mob got closer to the Senate chamber.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go,’” Mr. Tuberville recounted to Politico.

This was a significant new piece of information. House prosecutors used it to argue that Mr. Trump was clearly aware that the vice president was in danger and that he had a callous disregard for Mr. Pence’s safety. On Friday, Mr. Trump’s defense team had insisted that Mr. Trump was not aware of any peril facing Mr. Pence.

Back at the White House, advisers were trying to get Mr. Trump to do something, but he rebuffed calls to intercede, including those from people wanting to see the National Guard deployed. The president, several advisers said, was expressing pleasure that the vote to certify Mr. Biden’s win had been delayed and that people were fighting for him.



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