Recently released video in the case of the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” who memorably wore a fur pelt and horned helmet to the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol, shows just how close the mob of Donald Trump supporters who broke into the building that day came to intercepting a top Senate Republican as he was being evacuated.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was apparently flanked by his security detail as he was being escorted from the Senate chamber, according to Politico, which first reported the near-miss. The footage shows that moments after the mob violently broke into the building — by smashing windows and forcing doors open — they encountered a uniformed officer standing in a small corridor.
The video shows at least three points of security between the rioters and the senator: the uniformed officer, two women standing behind the officer and also facing the crowd, and Grassley’s own security detail. The camera lingers on the group with the senator only briefly before panning back to the crowd.
It’s unclear whether the rioters — who could be heard chanting “Freedom!” and “Our house!” — were aware of who they had just nearly encountered.
Grassley, as Senate president pro tempore and third in the line of presidential succession, was moments earlier presiding over the certification proceedings to confirm Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory, after then-Vice President Mike Pence had been rushed from the chamber due to the security risk posed by the pro-Trump mob.
Also seen in the video is Dominic Pezzola, a New York state member of the Proud Boys extremist group. Pezzola has been charged with a slew of felonies in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, including seditious conspiracy. His trial, alongside Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and members Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, and Joseph Biggs started in January and is currently ongoing.
The handheld video travels with the crowd from shortly before the break-in until right after it starts to make its way up a set of stairs, presumably chasing U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who is credited with leading the mob away from the Senate chamber. Rioters are seen using their bare hands and ad hoc tools to smash windows before the doors eventually open.
Once inside the building, a rioter is seen entering what appears to be a food service area, although other protestors are heard ordering him to stop.
According to Politico, the footage was taken by another accused rioter, Daniel Adams, who is facing assault, obstruction, and civil disorder charges. The video was released in connection with Chansley’s case, according to the federal database that shares video and documentary evidence in Jan. 6 cases with media organizations.
Chansley pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, which carries a potential 20-year prison sentence, and was sentenced in November 2021 to serve more than three years behind bars. The case docket indicates that Chansley dropped his appeal in July of 2022. According to the federal Bureau of Prisons, Chansley is set to be released on July 9.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the video. A spokesperson for Grassley did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
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