Jun 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Top White House aide warned of security risk to Pence before Jan. 6

ormer Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University's Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Stanford, Calif

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University on Feb. 17. Photo: Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Marc Short, the then-chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, warned the Secret Service on Jan 5th of a security threat to Pence, the New York Times reported.

Driving the news: The day before the Capitol riot, Short warned his top Secret Service agent, Tim Giebels, that former President Trump may turn against Pence "and there could be a security risk to Mr. Pence because of it," the Times writes.

  • A source with direct knowledge confirmed to Axios the report was accurate.
  • Short did not have knowledge of the specifics of the security threat and it's not clear what steps, if any, Giebels took to respond to the warning.
  • The warning was the only time that Short flagged a security concern during his time as Pence's top aide, the Times notes.

The big picture: Short's warning underscores concerns among top government officials that Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election could lead to violence on Jan. 6, the Times notes.

  • Trump believed and repeatedly pressured Pence to reject certain outcomes and declare Trump the winner of the election as Congress certified the votes. Pence refused to do so and has since repeatedly said that Trump was wrong to suggest that he had that power.
  • "Frankly there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President," Pence said in February.
  • One day after Short's warning, pro-Trump rioters breached the U.S. Capitol. Many were threatening to harm the vice president, and some chanted "Hang Mike Pence."
  • Pence said earlier this year that Trump was wrong to claim that he could have overturned the results of the election during the election certification.

Between the lines: Short's warning was first reported by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, whose book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” is set to be published in October.

Go deeper... Pence says Trump is “wrong” about overturning 2020 election

Axios' Jonathan Swan contributed reporting.

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