Within the Oval Workplace final week, the day earlier than the vote, Mr. Trump pushed Mr. Pence in a string of encounters, together with one assembly that lasted at the least an hour. John Eastman, a conservative constitutional scholar at Chapman College, was within the workplace and argued to Mr. Pence that he did have the ability to behave.
The subsequent morning, hours earlier than the vote, Richard Cullen, Mr. Pence’s private lawyer, referred to as J. Michael Luttig, a former appeals courtroom choose revered by conservatives — and for whom Mr. Eastman had as soon as clerked. Mr. Luttig agreed to rapidly write up his opinion that the vice chairman had no energy to alter the result, then posted it on Twitter.
Inside minutes, Mr. Pence’s workers included Mr. Luttig’s reasoning, citing him by identify, right into a letter saying the vice chairman’s choice to not attempt to block electors. Reached on Tuesday, Mr. Luttig mentioned it was “the very best honor of my life” to play a job in preserving the Structure.
After the offended name cursing Mr. Pence, Mr. Trump riled up supporters on the rally in opposition to his personal vice chairman, saying, “I hope he doesn’t take heed to the RINOs and the silly those that he’s listening to.”
“He set Mike Pence up that day by placing it on his shoulders,” mentioned Ryan Streeter, an adviser to Mr. Pence when he was the governor of Indiana. “That’s a reasonably unprecedented factor in American politics. For a president to throw his personal vice chairman beneath the bus like that and to encourage his supporters to take him on is one thing simply unconscionable in my thoughts.”
Mr. Pence was already in his motorcade to the Capitol by that time. When the mob burst into the constructing, Secret Service brokers evacuated him and his spouse and kids, first to his workplace off the ground and later to the basement. His brokers urged him to depart the constructing, however he refused to desert the Capitol. From there, he spoke with congressional leaders, the protection secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers — however not the president.
A Republican senator later mentioned he had by no means seen Mr. Pence so offended, feeling betrayed by a president for whom he had executed a lot. To Mr. Trump, one adviser mentioned, the vice chairman had entered “Classes territory,” referring to Jeff Classes, the lawyer basic who was tortured by the president earlier than being fired. (A vice chairman can’t be dismissed by a president.)