Mike Pence

Pence Pleads Ignorance as Russia Probe Deepens

“As the White House contends with questions about who knew about former national security adviser Michael Flynn lying to the FBI, people close to Vice President Mike Pence are trying to make clear that President Donald Trump’s No. 2 knew nothing at all,” Politico reports.

“Pence’s aides have maintained for months that their man was out of the loop, blissfully ignorant to contacts between the Trump campaign and various foreign actors, from the Russian ambassador to WikiLeaks.”

Trump Regularly Mocks Pence

New Yorker: “A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, ‘Did Mike make you pray?’ Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality.”

“During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. ‘You see?’ Trump asked Pence. ‘You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.’ When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!’”

Bannon Privately Slammed Pence Pick

“Steve Bannon privately slammed the selection of Mike Pence as Donald Trump’s running mate a month before taking over the Trump campaign,” according to emails obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“The email exchange during Bannon’s first stint as executive chairman of Breitbart is of new relevance as Bannon — two months removed from his role as President Trump’s chief strategist — rolls out his plan for a wide-ranging attack against establishment Republicans in 2018. And it reveals that Bannon regarded the Pence pick as something of a deal with the devil necessary to bolster Trump’s standing in the GOP.”

Top Pence Aide Suggests Purge of Anti-Trump Republicans

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff railed against congressional leaders in closed-door remarks to wealthy donors and called for a “purge” if GOP lawmakers don’t quickly rally behind President Trump’s agenda, Politico reports.

Said Nick Ayers: “I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this. But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”

Soldiers on Pence Detail Reassigned

“The U.S. Army detail assigned to Vice President Mike Pence’s communications team has been removed from White House duties after being caught on video bringing women back to their hotel in Colombia,” NBC News reports.

“The soldiers — who were senior members of the service, according to one of the officials — were brought back to the United States and removed from the White House detail once the allegations surfaced…  There is no indication at this point that the women with the U.S. Army soldiers were prostitutes.”

Democrats Are Preparing to Run Against Pence In 2020

BuzzFeed: “Democrats are already preparing for a possible 2020 presidential bid by Vice President Mike Pence, with a major group dedicating staff — including on the ground in Indiana — to dig up dirt on him, amid rumblings that Pence is positioning himself for a run.”

“The vice president has denied having intentions to run, but he has been meeting with top donors and has set up a leadership PAC that has already raised $540,000, as President Trump continues to make comments on race and other issues that are making Republicans increasingly uncomfortable.”

For members: Trump’s Re-Election May Depend Upon Leaving the GOP

If Trump Goes Down, So Will Pence

Ronald Klain: “This is the vice-presidential prisoner’s dilemma: There is no distance he can achieve, no political support he can muster, no congressional chits he can collect, no donor base he can assemble that can survive the fallout from a failed presidency. A vice president is either implicated as being in the loop or looks foolish if he insists that he was out of it. There’s too much video of any vice president praising, promoting and partnering with his boss to say, ‘President who?'”

“A vice president’s record behind the scenes in the administration is, by definition, obscure to voters. As a result, for better or worse, a vice president must run on the president’s record: If Trump’s record is bad enough to prevent him from running in 2020, it will flatten Pence as well.”

“If Pence seeks the presidency in 2020 because Trump has been forced out of office, or pressured not to run for reelection due to unpopularity, he will suffer the same fate as Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Ford in 1976, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Dan Quayle in 2000: defeat. Nothing Pence is doing now will break him out of a political imprisonment of his own creation.”

Could Pence Survive a Trump Collapse?

Ryan Lizza: “I reached out to Ron Klain, Gore’s chief of staff when he was Vice-President, to ask about how Gore dealt with the complexities of serving loyally as Vice-President for someone who might be booted out of office. He was reluctant to compare Pence’s situation with Gore’s, but he did, however, make it clear that any attempt by Pence to escape Trump’s shadow would be met with a withering argument from Democrats.”

Said Klain: “Over all, I would say that whenever Mike Pence runs for office in the future, the liability he will carry from this period is not how he distanced himself from Trump but, rather, how he deepened his ties to the President. In 2020, at the end of a failed, one-term Trump Presidency, no amount of PAC money or donor meetings will insulate Vice-President Pence from the political fallout from being Donald Trump’s transition chief, Capitol Hill liaison, right-hand man, and principal surrogate.”

What If Mike Pence Becomes President?

Jason Zengerle: “No matter the circumstances of Trump’s exit — whether he leaves early or not — Pence will inherit a hangover. Recall Gerald Ford’s efforts, in the wake of Watergate, to declare that America’s long national nightmare is over.’ Pence might need to do something similar… If Trump were to resign or be forced from office, Republicans would struggle in the long shadow of scandal and turmoil — and nobody would be more enveloped in it than Pence himself.”

“Consensus holds that Pence would want to surround himself with new staff — particularly Republican heavyweights, aides and operatives of the stature and pedigree that Trump wasn’t able to lure to the White House…. Surprisingly, one high-profile survivor might be Kellyanne Conway, who served on Pence’s gubernatorial campaign as a pollster. At one point she even urged him to run for president in 2016, and later she talked him up to Trump during the veep search.”

Pence Denies He’s Getting Ready for 2020 Run

Vice President Mike Pence declared his loyalty to President Trump and denounced a New York Times article suggesting that he was positioning himself to run for president in 2020 if Mr. Trump does not seek a second term, the New York Times reports.

Said Pence: “Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.”

He added: “Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”

Pence Makes Push to Get Health Bill to the Floor

Vice President Mike Pence is making an all out push for the Senate to get the health care bill onto the floor next week, Jonathan Swan reports.

“The White House needs to convince two conservative senators, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, to vote to allow the Senate to debate the health care bill. We expect Pence to leverage his deep connections in the conservative movement to build pressure on these senators over these crucial few days.”