US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
US vice president Kamala Harris was at Democratic committee headquarters in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, when a pipe bomb was discovered outside, according to a White House official familiar with the matter.
Harris, then the vice-president-elect and senator from California, evacuated the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters on Capitol Hill after law enforcement officers discovered the device, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The US Secret Service, which provides Harris’ security, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For a year, the FBI has been looking for a suspect wearing a gray hooded top who they say planted an explosive device next to a park bench outside the DNC and another in an alley behind the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters. The devices, which officials believe were planted the night before, were defused.
The FBI described the bomb as a “viable” device which “could have been detonated, resulting in serious injury or death”.
Their discovery came on the same day as supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the Nov. 3, 2020, election of Joe Biden and Harris.
According to a Politico report, Harris was evacuated from the DNC office in Washington at 1.14pm on January 6, seven minutes after police attended to the bomb.
Harris, Biden and other lawmakers observed the anniversary with speeches at the Capitol on Thursday (6).
Though Biden never mentioned Trump by name, he was explicit in blaming the former president for fomenting the violence of a year ago.
The news that Harris was, for a time, vulnerable to a potential explosion adds a new dimension to the events of 6 January. Harris is the first female US vice-president and first woman of colour in the White House.
As Harris was being escorted from the DNC building, Trump supporters were beginning to grapple with police on the steps of the Capitol building. Some of the group would breach the building a little over an hour later, the report added.
No one has been arrested in connection with the DNC and RNC bombs, which the FBI believes were planted by the same person.
In September, the FBI published a series of videos showing what it said was a suspect in the case. The agency, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the person in the videos.