At the White House, Ornato, who as deputy chief of staff had oversight over Secret Service decisions, told Pence’s national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, that the vice-president was going to be moved to the Maryland military facility Joint Base Andrews. Had he been evacuated, Pence would no longer have been able to certify Biden’s electoral victory, and Trump’s goal of postponing his defeat would have been fulfilled.

When Ornato said that the Secret Service would move Pence, Kellogg was adamant, Rucker and Leonnig reported. “You can’t do that, Tony,” Kellogg said. “Leave him where he’s at. He’s got a job to do. I know you guys too well. You’ll fly him to Alaska if you have a chance. Don’t do it.”