For Mike Pence, January 6 started out as several days. It ended like no other.

WASHINGTON — He started the day with a prayer.

Vice President Mike Pence, preparing to resist the final stage of a relentless campaign by President Donald J. Trump to force him to illegally attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, began January 6, 2021, surrounded of helpers at his official residence at the Naval Observatory, asking God to guide you.

The group expected a difficult day. But what followed over the next 12 hours was more heartbreaking than they had imagined.

An angry mob with baseball bats and pepper spray chanting “hang on Mike Pence” came within 40 feet of the vice president. Mr. Pence’s Secret Service posse had to get him to safety and hold him for nearly five hours in the bowels of the Capitol. Mr. Trump called Mr. Pence a “wimp” and worse in a rude and abusive call that morning from the Oval Office, Mr. Trump’s daughter and former White House aides testified.

And a confidential witness who traveled to Washington with the Proud Boys, the largest of the far-right groups that helped lead the assault on the Capitol, later told investigators the group allegedly killed Mr. Pence – and Speaker Nancy Pelosi – if they had the chance.

These were among the extraordinary new details that emerged during the third public hearing held Thursday by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.

Mr. Pence’s day dawned as it often has. The vice president, whose evangelical faith was a selling point for adding him to the presidential ticket in 2016 but often a source of skepticism for Mr Trump, was joined by three prayerful people: his lead attorney, Greg Jacob ; his chief of staff, Marc Short; and its director of legislative affairs, Chris Hodgson.

Mr. Pence and the team had been subjected to a barrage of demands from Mr. Trump for the vice president to refuse to certify the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College in a joint session of Congress – a unconstitutional action never taken before in the two and a half centuries since the founding of the nation.

“We just asked for advice and wisdom, knowing it was going to be a tough day,” Mr Short said in videotaped testimony released by the committee.

While Mr. Pence was at the Naval Observatory, Mr. Trump was in the Oval Office with aides and family members walking in and out, including Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Ivanka Trump . He had already sent two Twitter messages putting more pressure on Mr Pence, the first at 1 a.m. The second, at 8 am, concluded: “Do it Mike, this is the moment of extreme courage!

At 11:20 a.m., Mr. Trump called Mr. Pence, who stepped away from his aides to take the call.

The Oval Office group could hear the side of Mr. Trump’s call, but paid little attention to what appeared to be starting off as routine conversation. But as Mr. Trump grew increasingly warmed to Mr. Pence holding firm in his refusal to back down, the call became hard to ignore.

“I remember hearing the word ‘wimp,'” Nick Luna, an aide to Mr. Trump, said in videotaped testimony. “‘Wimp’ is the word I remember.”

Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and former top White House adviser, said in her videotaped testimony that “it was a different tone than I had heard him take with the vice president before. “.

Mrs Trump’s chief of staff, Julie Radford, appeared in videotaped testimony to say Mrs Trump told her shortly after the call that Mr Trump had had an ‘upsetting’ conversation with Mr Pence . The president, Ms Radford said, used “the P-word”. (The New York Times previously reported that Mr. Trump told Mr. Pence, “You can either go down in history as a patriot or go down in history as a pussy,” according to two people briefed on the conversation.)

At the Naval Observatory, Mr. Pence returned to the room after taking the call looking “steel”, “determined” and “gloomy”, Mr. Jacob told the committee.

In the meantime, Mr Trump edited a speech he gave later in the day to a crowd of supporters on the Ellipse. An early draft of the speech, the committee said, made no mention of Mr Pence. But after the call, the president included language that video footage showed that pissed off the crowd.

“I hope Mike does the right thing,” Mr. Trump said in his speech. “I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win.

“All Vice President Pence has to do is send him back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people,” Mr Trump continued, referring to one of his demands. for Mr Pence to send the election results back to the states, a delaying tactic he hoped would ultimately keep him in power. If Mr. Pence did not comply, Mr. Trump told the crowd, “it will be a sad day for our country.”

He added, “So I hope Mike has the guts to do what he has to do. And I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people he listens to,” using the term for “Republicans in name only”.

Mr. Trump ordered his supporters to march to the Capitol and speak out.

By the time Mr. Pence arrived at the Capitol with his wife, Karen Pence, and their daughter Charlotte, an angry crowd was already gathering outside.

Inside, at the start of the joint session, Mr. Pence’s aides released a note to the public setting out the vice president’s view that he had no authority over the certification that Mr. Trump and his attorney, John Eastman, insisted he had.

Shortly after 2:10 p.m., the proceedings were interrupted by loud noises. The crowd invaded the building. At 2:24 p.m. — when committee Democrats said Mr. Trump was aware the Capitol had been breached — the president posted on Twitter that ‘Mike Pence didn’t have the guts to do what was necessary’ .

By then, the Secret Service had moved Mr. Pence from the Senate chamber to his office across the hall. His advisers said the noise of the rioters had become audible, leading them to assume they had entered the building. Still, there was not yet a general sense of alarm.

Once in his office, Mr. Pence sat with his family, including his brother, Rep. Greg Pence and his top aides, while Mr. Short bent down to grab some food. Ms Pence drew the curtains to prevent rioters from looking inside.

Mr. Short returned to the office. By then, Tim Giebels, Mr. Pence’s senior Secret Service agent, had made some attempts to induce Mr. Pence and his family to move. But soon he made no more suggestions. Mr. Pence, he said, needed to get to safety.

The entourage began descending a flight of stairs to an underground loading dock – the point where they came within 40ft of the rioters. Mr Pence and his aides were unaware at the time how close they were to the mob, some of whom were threatening to kill him.

“I could hear the din of the rioters in the building,” Mr. Jacob said during the hearing on Thursday. “I don’t think I was aware they were that close.”

From the loading dock, Mr. Pence handled calls to congressional leaders who had been evacuated from the Capitol complex and ordered the Pentagon to send in the National Guard. The Secret Service ordered him to get into a car and evacuate, but he refused to leave the building.

“The vice president didn’t want to take any chances that the world would see the vice president of the United States fleeing the United States Capitol,” Jacob said on Thursday, noting that Mr. Pence didn’t want to give satisfaction to the rioters. . to disrupt the proceedings more than they had already done. “He was determined that we would finish the job we had planned to do that day.”

One person he never spoke to again that day was Mr Trump, who did not call to check on Mr Pence’s safety. Neither did White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the Senate Chamber reopened, after rioters were evacuated from the complex.

“Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” Mr. Pence said as proceedings resumed. He was greeted with applause when he said, “Let’s get back to business.”

Back at the White House, prodded by some of his advisers, Mr Trump told aides he now wanted to bar Mr Short from entering the West Wing.

At 3:42 a.m., it was all over. Mr. Biden’s victory had been certified.

At 3:50 a.m., as Mr. Pence and Mr. Short parted ways, Mr. Short sent his boss a passage from the Bible.

“I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith,” the post read.

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