Lawmakers Warned They Should Consider Not Watching Some Never-Aired Capitol Riot Footage That Will Be Shown

Security footage that is expected to be shown during the U.S. Senate impeachment trial over allegations that he incited the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol is so unsettling that some lawmakers are warning aides and others who were present that day not to watch.

"I understand it's gonna be pretty rough this evening—more things that you haven't seen before," U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters Wednesday before the video was expected to be shown from the Senate floor. "I think some people will not watch."

He said members were told, "You should be prepared or be with other people or don't watch it."

Senior aides to the House impeachment team told reporters ahead of its airing that the chilling, never-before-seen video would give new insight into the violence at the Capitol when Trump supporters stormed the building in an attempt to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's election.

"[It] shows a view of the Capitol that is quite extraordinary, the view of the attack that has never been public before, which you will see for the first time starting today," one of the aides said.

The new footage comes a day after House impeachment managers opened their case against Trump with a dramatic 13-minute montage of publicly available footage from the insurrection, including social media posts from the rioters.

Several members described that video as unsettling.

"There were elements in that video that were more explicit than anything I've ever seen on television," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told reporters of watching Wednesday's video.

The Capitol was full of lawmakers from both chambers, their staffers, Capitol security and support staff were all in the building when insurrectionists forced their way into the building en masse. Staffers barricaded themselves in offices and several lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence were whisked away to safe areas, barely evading the unruly crowd.

U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who is serving as the lead House impeachment manager, teared up when telling his story on the floor Wednesday about being separated from his daughter and son-in-law as the riots broke out. They had joined him just a day after his son's funeral to support him through the certification.

"They thought they were gonna die," Raskin said.

The U.S. House voted 232-197 on January 13—exactly a week after the riots—in favor of impeaching Trump.

But Trump isn't expected to be convicted in the Senate, where it would require support from two-thirds of the members, as 44 GOP senators on Wednesday voted that the trial shouldn't go forward because Trump's no longer in office. Democrats are trying to force a vote on barring Trump from ever running for office in the future.

As the House managers made their case on Thursday, several of those 44 Republicans were spotted taking notes but none had publicly expressed interest in voting to convict.

U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is on the House impeachment team, recalled being on the House floor as the rioters tried to breach the chamber.

"I heard that terrifying bringing on House chamber doors," she told the senators, holding back tears.

Capitol riot
U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. Drew Angerer/Getty