Vice President Mike Pence pleaded with the acting defense secretary to ‘clear the Capitol’ as pro-Trump rioters overran the building, report says

Mike Pence Donald Trump
President Donald Trump listens as Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus briefing in February 2020.
  • The Associated Press obtained an internal Pentagon document about the Capitol riot on January 6.
  • According to the outlet, Vice President Mike Pence placed an urgent call to the acting defense secretary.
  • "Clear the Capitol," Pence said after the mob had been in the building for hours.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

After a group of former President Donald Trump's supporters breached the US Capitol on January 6, forcing lawmakers to evacuate and leaving multiple people dead, questions have lingered about the timeline of events.

Some of those details have emerged in an internal Defense Department document that was obtained by the Associated Press.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was in the building when the Capitol riot began, made an urgent call amid the chaos.

"Clear the Capitol," Pence told Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, the Associated Press reported. Pence was in a "secure location" when he made the call, but the Capitol had already been overrun by rioters for two hours.

The Associated Press pieced together the timeline of the siege based on the document and previously known details.

Read more: Donald Trump is facing legal jeopardy on multiple fronts. Here are the lawyers in his corner.

According to the outlet, the timeline "lays bare the inaction by then-President Donald Trump" and "shows that the intelligence missteps, tactical errors and bureaucratic delays were eclipsed by the government's failure to comprehend the scale and intensity of a violent uprising by its own citizens."

Pence was at the Capitol on January 6 to oversee the counting of electoral college votes and certify President Joe Biden's victory. Trump encouraged his supporters to come to Washington, DC, to "stop the steal," a reference to his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.

Before the siege, Trump addressed a crowd of his supporters and told them to march to the Capitol. He also lashed out at Pence for not blocking the count of the electoral college, despite the vice president's role being largely ceremonial.

Some of the rioters were captured on video chanting "hang Mike Pence."

"Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution," Trump tweeted as his supporters closed in on the Senate chamber, just minutes after Pence was evacuated at around 2:13 p.m.

An hour later, Trump tweeted again, urging his supporter who had already overrun the building and attacked police officers to "remain peaceful."

Pence's call to Miller urging him to clear the Capitol came at 4:08 p.m., according to the Associated Press.

At 4:17 p.m., Trump first urged his supporters to leave, tweeting a video of himself repeating false statements about the election and saying "go home, and go home in peace."

The Capitol was not declared secure until 8 p.m., and law enforcement was heavily criticized for its response to the day's events.

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