The Secret Service received notice of a shooting threat against then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as the Capitol was under attack on January 6, but did not pass it along to Capitol Police for more than an hour after receiving it, according to records obtained by CREW.
Right-wing news channel Newsmax received a voicemail suggesting a shooting threat against Schumer shortly before 4 pm on January 6, roughly an hour after the Senate chamber had been breached and well before law enforcement was able to clear them out. A Newsmax editor emailed the voicemail to the Secret Service at 3:59 pm, indicating the timestamp at which the threat was made. The Secret Service forwarded the message to the agency’s Protective Intelligence and Assessment Division (PID) approximately 10 minutes later. US Capitol Police did not receive the voicemail from PID until more than an hour after Newsmax had sent it. The records do not show how explicit the threat was made in the voicemail.
At the time of the voicemail, President Trump was refusing to send in any aid to support law enforcement at the Capitol and had publicly pressured Vice President Pence and members of Congress to overturn the election.
CREW previously found that the Secret Service held onto a threat against Nancy Pelosi until after the insurrection had begun despite receiving it days earlier. While the Capitol was under attack, Pelosi also had reservations about whether she and Mike Pence could trust the agency.
The records also revealed a threat directed at Mike Pence, Joe Biden and their places of residence on the day of the insurrection, as well as explicit plans to attack the Capitol.
At 6:28 pm on January 6, a Twitter user complimented Donald Trump on his speech and said that the following protest reminded him of “when the French stormed the Bastille,” going on to say “The Naval Observatory next and then wherever Sleepy Joe sleeps.” The Naval Observatory is the official residence of the vice president of the United States. The Metropolitan Police Department notified the Secret Service of the threat approximately 10 minutes after the tweet was posted. The then-leader of the Secret Service Washington Field Office Matt Miller replied, “Fu…….”
These substantial threats against Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden and Mike Pence may have been avoided altogether had the Secret Service done more to respond to the countless indications of violence they had in advance of the insurrection.
This most recent production shows that on December 17, a US Capitol Police official with the Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division flagged three pro-Trump events that threatened armed violence. One was an “armed march” at the US Capitol, the second an event called “1,000,000 Plus Patriots To Shut Washington D.C. Down….To Physically Stop The Steal,” and a “Million Militia March.”
Yet, the Secret Service largely reported that there was “no indication of civil disobedience” and dismissed the threats in other briefings, even when the threats involved groups such as the Proud Boys or neo-Nazis. Later, the agency appears to have violated federal criminal law by destroying text messages from January 5 and 6 and provided misleading answers to the Select Committee investigating January 6.