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Impeachment trial reveals possible risk to Pence’s nuclear codes in Capitol riot

Security officials were unaware that rioters came close to ‘nuclear football’ until footage of US vice president broadcast by Democratic impeachment managers

In this image from video, a security video shows Vice President Mike Pence being evacuated as rioters breach the Capitol, as House impeachment manager Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, speaks during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)
In this image from video, a security video shows Vice President Mike Pence being evacuated as rioters breach the Capitol, as House impeachment manager Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, speaks during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

Security officials were unaware until this week that the aide to then-US Vice President Mike Pence who was carrying the “nuclear football” was in danger during the Capitol riot, CNN reported on Friday.

Video shown in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial revealed that rioters came close to the then-vice president and the military officer who was carrying the “football,” which contains all the equipment needed to order a nuclear strike.

The football is identical to the one that accompanies the president in case he is incapacitated in any way.

Footage shown at the trial showed the mob of rioters breaking into the Capitol, smashing windows and doors and searching menacingly for Pence as overwhelmed police begged on their radios for help.

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks to National Guard troops outside the US Capitol in Washington, January 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

In the previously unreleased recordings, the House prosecutors displayed gripping scenes of how close the rioters were to the country’s leaders, roaming the halls chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” some equipped with combat gear and members of extremist groups among the first inside. Outside, the mob had set up a makeshift gallows.

According to CNN, US Strategic Command only became aware of the seriousness of the situation this week when the video was shown.

An unnamed official told the outlet that the officer had control of the backup “football” at all times and that the security controls on the system meant that if it had been seized, it would be unusable.

The Pentagon and US National Security Council declined to comment to CNN on the report.

Illustrative — A US military aide carries the ‘president’s emergency satchel,’ also know as ‘the football,’ with the nuclear launch codes, across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 31, 2019 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Senators are poised to vote on whether Trump will be held accountable for inciting the horrific attack at the Capitol.

Barely a month since the deadly riot, closing arguments are set for a rare Saturday session for the historic impeachment trial.

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