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Pence keeping his head down and plotting his own presidential future as Trump goes on trial: report

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According to a report at Politico, Vice President Mike Pence hopes to keep his distance from the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the hopes he doesn’t get swept up in it and cripple his own presidential aspirations.

With the president’s impeachment set to begin on Tuesday — as lawmakers debate the rules set forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — Pence will attempt to stay on the sidelines, going so far as to head overseas to meet with the Pope as the historic trial begins.

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“The current vice president will meet with Pope Francis in Vatican City this week while his own boss’ impeachment trial is underway — ditching Washington for a trip that will keep him thousands of miles away from the high-stakes saga threatening to upend not only Trump’s political future, but increasingly his own,” the report states while also noting Pence should worry that “potential witnesses and new evidence released by House Democrats last Tuesday could entangle the vice president in a mess he has deliberately tried to sidestep as he considers a White House bid of his own in 2024.”

With Michael Feldman, a former senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore, pointing out, “It’s trickier for him to be in all-on defense mode when he’s been implicated in the underlying allegations,” Politico notes that Pence — unlike Gore — has been implicated in Trump’s corruption scandal that led to his impeachment.

“Despite his best efforts, Pence keeps getting pulled into the scandal at the heart of impeachment — that the president withheld financial aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine to announce politically advantageous probes,” Politico reports. “Pence met with Ukraine’s president in Trump’s place during the period the aid was being withheld, Trump has suggested reporters press Pence about his communications with the Ukrainian leader and several figures have accused Pence of knowing about the scheme, which the vice president denies.”

Of more concern for the vice president is the possibility that an impeachment witness, such as former national security adviser John Bolton, could implicate him even further.

“Pence is also grappling with other unknowns. If new witnesses are called during the Senate trial, such as former White House national security adviser John Bolton, will they further implicate him in the administration’s effort to pressure Ukraine for political help? Could new evidence stain his reputation right as he is thinking about his own future presidential aspirations?” the report notes, with an adviser to Pence admitting, “If there came a point where Mike was seriously forced to weigh his own career against his loyalty to Trump, that would be one hell of a twist.”

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Pence, the report goes to great pains to point out, has publically remained steadfastly in support of the president but that doesn’t mean that he is not working behind the scenes to secure his own aspiration to become president by either running in 2024 or assuming the mantle of president in the outside chance the GOP-controlled Senate ousts Trump.

“Behind the scenes, Pence has declined to discuss contingency plans. But despite the improbability of Trump’s removal, a vice president can’t just go to sleep during an impeachment trial. If a two-thirds majority, or 67 senators, votes to convict Trump, Pence would immediately assume the most powerful post in the country,” the report states before pointedly noting, “To help Trump stay afloat, Pence plans to go to the mat for him during the Senate trial on television and on the campaign trail, but not on Capitol Hill.”

You can read more here.

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2020 Election

Florida seniors are ‘highly susceptible’ to coronavirus — which could hurt Trump’s reelection chances

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On Monday, The Washington Post examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older voters' politics, and in particular how it is hurting President Donald Trump with the critical demographic in Florida — a state that is almost mandatory for the president to win for a second term.

"While Democrats have worried about Biden’s struggles to excite younger voters, older voters who are upset with the president are poised to be potentially more influential in November, especially in swing states whose populations skew their way, like Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin," reported Jenna Johnson and Lori Rozsa. "In Florida, more than 20 percent of those who voted in the 2016 election were over age 65, according to exit polls. In 2016, Trump won the Florida senior vote by a 17-point margin over Clinton, according to exit polls. The state ranks as one Trump must almost certainly win to insure his victory, while Biden has other paths to the White House."

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2020 Election

Lawmakers discussing possibility that ‘freaked out’ Trump won’t accept election loss

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President Donald Trump's increasing attacks on election integrity have raised new alarms about his efforts to delegitimize the results in November.

Just as he did in 2016, Trump has been flinging baseless accusations of "rigged" elections and has, as president, threatened to withhold funding from Michigan and Nevada for going ahead with plans to allow voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, reported Politico.

"He is planting the seeds for delegitimizing the election if he loses," said Vanita Gupta, a former head of Justice Department’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama. "It’s from the playbook. It’ll get more intense as he gets more freaked out."

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2020 Election

‘Un-American’ anti-lockdown protesters hammered by Army veteran for appropriating military gear to make their point

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In a Memorial Day column for the Washington Post, military vet Drew Garza -- who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan among other deployments -- hammered anti-lockdown protesters who have appropriated a quasi-military style of dress while sometimes carrying "un-American" flags at lockdown rallies.

According to the U.S. Army vet who is now a Tillman scholar at George Washington University, protesters who adorn themselves in military-style garb while carrying high-powered weapons to protest stay-at-home orders designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is a personal affront to those who have actually served.

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