Speed Reads

Fighting Words

Pelosi said on Jan. 6 she'd 'punch' Trump if he came to the Capitol, 'go to jail,' and 'be happy' about it

The House Jan. 6 committee, in what is believed to have been its final public session, played video Thursday of what congressional leaders — who were stationed at a secure location at Fort McNair, about two miles away from the Capitol — were doing to stop the Jan. 6, 2021, siege while it was ongoing. "Everyone involved was working actively to stop the violence, to get federal law enforcement deployed to the scene to put down the violence and secure the Capitol complex," said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), setting up the video. "All of them did what President Trump was not doing, what he simply refused to do."

The never-before-broadcast video was from documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi's daughter, and it centers on what Pelosi was doing during the riot. But Alexandra Pelosi also captured what her mother was doing earlier in the day, and CNN obtained an hour of that footage not presented by the committee. 

One clip, from before the pro-Trump rioters reach the Capitol, shows Speaker Pelosi learning that Trump, despite his declaration in a speech at the Ellipse, had been "dissuaded" by the Secret Service from coming to Capitol Hill — reinforcing testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson

"If he comes, I'm going to punch him out," Pelosi said. "I've been waiting for this. For trespassing on the Capitol grounds, I'm going to punch him out. And I'm going to go to jail, and I'm going to be happy."

Much of the rest of the video shows Pelosi and other congressional leaders on the phone with various governors and then-Vice President Mike Pence, trying to get National Guard troops to the Capitol and figuring out where Congress would reconvene to certify President Biden's electoral victory — Congress or Fort McNair. 

That matter was decided at about 6 p.m., after Pence — still huddling at a Capitol loading dock with his Secret Service detail — told Pelosi that Capitol Police "believe that the House and the Senate will be able to reconvene in roughly an hour."

Pelosi and Pence — No. 2 and 3 in line for the presidency at the time — had been in contact for at least an hour and a half at that point. "I worry about you being in that Capitol room," Pelosi told Pence in a call at about 4:20 p.m. "Don't let anybody know where you are."