In the Oval Office 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 University, 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 shortly write up his opinion that the vp had no energy to vary the end result, then posted it on Twitter.
Within minutes, Mr. Pence’s workers included Mr. Luttig’s reasoning, citing him by identify, right into a letter asserting the vp’s choice to not attempt to block electors. Reached on Tuesday, Mr. Luttig stated it was “the highest honor of my life” to play a task in preserving the Constitution.
After the indignant name cursing Mr. Pence, Mr. Trump riled up supporters on the rally towards his personal vp, saying, “I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.”
“He set Mike Pence up that day by putting it on his shoulders,” stated Ryan Streeter, an adviser to Mr. Pence when he was the governor of Indiana. “That’s a pretty unprecedented thing in American politics. For a president to throw his own vice president under the bus like that and to encourage his supporters to take him on is something just unconscionable in my mind.”
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 youngsters, 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 Staff — however not the president.
A Republican senator later stated he had by no means seen Mr. Pence so indignant, feeling betrayed by a president for whom he had completed a lot. To Mr. Trump, one adviser stated, the vp had entered “Sessions territory,” referring to Jeff Sessions, the lawyer common who was tortured by the president earlier than being fired. (A vp can’t be dismissed by a president.)