They called it the “command center,” a set of rooms and suites in the posh Willard hotel a block from the White House where some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal lieutenants were working day and night with one goal in mind: overturning the results of the 2020 election.

The Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse and the ensuing attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob would draw the world’s attention to the quest to physically block Congress from affirming Joe Biden’s victory. But the activities at the Willard that week add to an emerging picture of a less visible effort, mapped out in memos by a conservative pro-Trump legal scholar and pursued by a team of presidential advisers and lawyers seeking to pull off what they claim was a legal strategy to reinstate Trump for a second term.

They were led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon was an occasional presence as the effort’s senior political adviser. Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik was there as an investigator. Also present was John Eastman, the scholar, who outlined scenarios for denying Biden the presidency in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence…

The effort underscores the extent to which Trump and a handful of true believers were working until the last possible moment to subvert the will of the voters, seeking to pressure Pence to delay or even block certification of the election, leveraging any possible constitutional loophole to test the boundaries of American democracy….

But by Jan. 5, Pence was not sold on the plan, according to “Peril.” That evening, Trump called over to Giuliani and then to Bannon, who were both at the Willard at the time, according to the book, which reported some details of the events at the Willard that day. Trump told Bannon that Pence had been “very arrogant” when the two discussed the matter earlier in the day, the book reported. The following day, Eastman spoke at the rally on the Ellipse.

“All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at one o’clock he let the legislatures of the states look into this so that we get to the bottom of it and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not!” Eastman told the crowd. “We no longer live in a self-governing republic if we can’t get the answer to this question!”

Pence withstood the pressure. Around 1 p.m., as he prepared to gavel in the joint session, he announced via a letter posted to Twitter that he would count the electoral college votes as they had been cast several weeks earlier….