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Capitol Police: Pence remained on Capitol grounds throughout Jan. 6 attack

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A U.S. Capitol Police sergeant affirmed Friday that former Vice President Mike Pence remained on Capitol grounds for the duration of the Jan. 6 attack on the building.

In a criminal affidavit filed by prosecutors, Sgt. Stephen James — a 28-year veteran of the force tasked with reviewing the department’s security camera footage — said Pence retreated from the Senate chamber during the attack at 2:26 p.m. and arrived at a “secure location within the Capitol Complex” two minutes later.

Pence remained in this location for four hours, with the exception of two bathroom breaks, returning to the Senate chamber just before 6:30 p.m. that evening, after the riot had been quelled.

“Based on the discussions I have had with USCP personnel who were with the VP from the time he exited the Senate Chamber until he returned, other than taking a comfort break twice to use the restroom (also within a secure location within the Capitol Complex), the VP remained in the secure location from the time he arrived after leaving the Senate Chamber until the time he returned to the chamber,” James said in the affidavit, filed as part of a criminal case arising from the attack.

James emphasized that the precise location Pence was taken is “among the most sensitive information maintained by the USCP and the United States Secret Service.”

The disclosure by the Capitol Police is part of an effort by prosecutors to rebut claims from some Jan. 6 defendants that Pence may have left Capitol grounds during the riot, a revelation that could affect the charges facing many of the defendants. Hundreds of defendants have been charged with breaching a building that was deemed “restricted” because of the presence of a Secret Service protectee inside. Some defendants say that if Pence left the building during the attack — combined with the fact that then Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had left the building as well — the Secret Service restricted zone would no longer apply.

The Justice Department has rejected that premise — the law, prosecutors say, also applies when a Secret Service protectee is expected to be in a particular location — but now seeks to verify that Pence didn’t leave Capitol grounds at all, negating the basis of the argument. James said he verified the former vice president’s location by reviewing Capitol Police closed-circuit video footage of Pence’s movements.

The affidavit was filed in the case of Couy Griffin, a Trump supporter from New Mexico and member of the militia group Cowboys for Trump. He’s one of the few facing charges who is not accused of breaching the building or committing violence on Jan. 6.

Griffin has pointed to reporting in a new book from ABC’s Jonathan Karl, which noted the existence of photographs of Pence in an underground garage during the attack. Griffin, in an argument echoed recently by other defendants, claimed that revelation could prove Pence was no longer on Capitol grounds amid the attack.

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