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Trump is frustrated with Pence and his team wants to kick him off the 2020 ticket: ‘They threaten Mike every week’

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Vanity Fair reporter Gabriel Sherman published a story Monday claiming that President Donald Trump’s team is considering replacing Mike Pence as vice president on the 2020 ticket.

Previous reports have made similar claims, including one from Axios reporter Jonathan Swan who found, like Sherman, that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are driving the discussions to replace Pence.

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Even before this latest round of reports and speculation about a vice-presidential switch, rumors have long percolated about former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley joining the ticket in 2020. But readers may also recall that in 2011, similar rumors floated around about then-President Barack Obama dumping Vice President Joe Biden from the 2012 ticket and replacing him with Hillary Clinton. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

The conventional wisdom around a mid-tenure VP replacement is that any supposed benefits won by bringing someone new to the ticket would almost certainly be outweighed by the implicit admission that the president’s initial choice was a mistake. And I’ve argued that replacing Pence would play right into one of the best narratives Democrats could run on in 2020: that Trump betrays everyone who trusts him.

But President Trump himself is the embodiment of the failure of conventional wisdom, so the possibility should not be discounted entirely. Aside from the reporting itself, there are several reasons to think a Pence replacement may be more likely than it otherwise would be. First, Trump is obviously just more erratic than other presidents. Second, he reportedly regretted his decision to pick Pence in 2016, and despite the vice president’s outward devotion to Trump, there’s always clearly been a vast cavern between their personalities and dispositions. Third, polls show Trump may face a steep climb toward re-election, and precarious economic conditions could make it even tougher. Desperation can inspire presidential candidates to take big risks — just think of John McCain’s picking Sarah Palin to be his running mate in 2008.

Sherman reported, citing a “Republican close to the White House,” that Trump is also growing frustrated with Pence, wishing the vice president would defend him more. Citing a “Republican in touch with Pence’s camp,” Sherman wrote that Kushner and Ivanka Trump “threaten Mike every week that they’re going to take him off the ticket” to induce him to follow orders. This claim seems a bit extreme and cartoonish to be taken literally — though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s false in this White House — but it could certainly be the impression Pence is under. That would explain, as I have previously argued, why Pence risked the backlash he triggered when he stayed at Trump’s resort in Ireland. If Pence really is worried about getting the boot, displaying his loyalty by participating in Trump’s open corruption — and thus damaging his own brand outside of the Trump bubble — may feel like his only option.

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‘Stand with Hong Kong’ shirts fill the stands at Nets game as NBA is protested for China subservience

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The National Basketball Association was protested on Friday for bowing to pressure from China.

The NBA has been harshly criticized for standing by the oppressive regime instead of standing in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

"Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA," New York magazine correspondent Yashar Ali reported Friday. "They're all wearing 'Stand With Hong Kong' T-shirts."

Photos from the protest:

1. Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA.

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Trump polling close friends over whether he should fire Mulvaney: report

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President Donald Trump is considering firing Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, The Atlantic reported Friday.

"Mick Mulvaney's job was in danger even before his disastrous press conference yesterday, and his equally disastrous attempt to walk that performance back," The Atlantic reported. "The fumble could not have been more poorly timed: According to multiple current and former White House officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay private conversations, Trump has been steadily souring on Mulvaney for weeks."

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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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