GOOD MORNING DC: The Inside Story Of Mike Pence’s Fallout With Trump

#GoodMorningDC, get your scoop from the insiders. Trump’s choices dwindle to resignation in the face of a second impeachment. 


 

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Good Morning, DC. 

The political fallout of the failed insurrection continues. After a prayer, Mike Pence decided not to invoke the 25th Amendment I wrote about yesterday. Rather than getting ahead of ourselves, let's start by rewinding what happened over these past 24 hours, shall we?  

Late into Wednesday night, after Pence was swept from the floor of the Senate and before the certification of the Electoral College vote took place, a conversation occurred among the members of the Cabinet about invoking the 25th Amendment. Are they going to invoke the 25th Amendment, or not? Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos were more inclined to resign than anything else, but they were all waiting to see what Mike Pence was going to do. He was the one to take the lead that the Cabinet members would follow. 

Realizing that he will soon face demands to invoke the 25th Amendment, Pence did what Pence always does: He went into the room with his closest advisers and prayed about it. His advisors decided that his career couldn't get any more significant than this moment in history — signing off and certifying the Electoral College was going to define Pence's career. As a result, he will go down in history as the one who chose to uphold the Constitution over Trump, earning him credit for a potential presidential run in 2024. Pence came out of the prayer convinced that he was doing the right thing. Pence knew that he needed to separate himself from Trump to defend the Constitution and that he was going to chart his course in history by defending the Constitution. He told Trump his conclusions. 

After Nancy Pelosi announced that she and Schummer wanted Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, Pence came out and said yesterday that he would not do so. All this happened before the news became the news, but, officially, once Nancy Pelosi came out, Mike Pence turned around and said no. 

Pence's decision not to invoke the 25th Amendment was an impetus for the Cabinet members to walk out, especially those who were mightily shaken with the upheaval of the U.S. Capitol, the members of the old guard, like Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos. In addition to that, it was Mitch McConnel who cast the dive for Chao, as, unlike the Conways, Mitch and Elaine do everything in a synchronized lockstep. 

Once Elaine Chao handed in her resignation, the next to follow was Betsy DeVos. Losing DeVos is significant because it's not just about losing the Secretary of Education, it's losing one of the biggest donor families to the Republican Party.

Suddenly, Trump's Cabinet started to disappear on him. In a free fall, everybody is either acting or interim, and the Commander in Chief has no advisors left. Abandoned, hopeless, and isolated, he may be the last person to remain at the White House. People who have hitched their wagons to Trump like Hope Hicks, McEntee and Dan Scavino may be the last people to board Marine One with him. Will individuals like these be blacklisted by employers like so many Democrats have promised increasingly since the election? Only time will tell the consequences of proximity to Donald Trump.

Melania Trump is thinking to leave the White House today, a source close to the First Lady told Good Morning DC. Wednesday night was hard and challenging for Melania. She never wanted to be at the White House. She just wants to leave, leave, leave. 

Alone and inflammable, with nuclear codes at his fingertips and the power to call the air-strike any time he wants, Donald Trump could explode. Many who know Trump worry. 

Can it get worse before it gets better? Can America and the world afford two weeks of an unhinged Trump presidency? With no advisors, cabinet members, and no wife to advise him, what happens next with no guardrails? The plot thickens. 

Now that everyone knows that Pence is not going to invoke the 25th Amendment, a new scenario emerges. Are the House and Senate going to try to pursue a second impeachment? A lot of insiders believe that the answer to that question is yes. 

Impeachment, the sequel, is coming Trump's way, but there’s a back story. How can Pence, who Trump made a villain, win all of this in the end? At the Save America Rally, Trump told his supporters that Pence could save him, but he did not.

But what if Trump had to come to Pence to ask for help? It would mean that Trump would resign, and Pence would be the one to save him by giving him a pardon from indictments? 

Pence now faces a political dilemma. Is it more critical for Pence to become president, for a day or two, and then run for the Commander in Chief for a full term in 2024 with the title of former President Mike Pence, or does Pence walk away and let Trump dangle in the wind? 

Trump going to prison is only a matter of time, and Mike Pence is Trump’s only walk-out-of-jail card. “Trump could be brought up on sedition charges, which is mind-blowing because he's President. On top of all of the other things that are going on, taxes, something that the Attorney General in New York is looking at, the District Attorney in New York City's looking at, all of those other things now could be sedition charges. There's only one person that can save him. And his name is Mike Pence, because Biden's not going to do it,” a source familiar with the investigation told Good Morning DC.

Biden's never going to pardon Trump. If Trump could now somehow make-up with Pence and get him to pardon him, he would be free to walk. 

On Wednesday night, Lindsey Graham turned on Trump on the Senate floor. People have been speculating for years that Trump has dirt on Lindsey Graham. Breaking rank with Trump on the Senate floor was a defining moment of Trump’s presidency and their friendship. “The fact that Lindsey Graham came out and did what he did was memorable. He basically said, ‘You know what, I just won. I got another six years. If you're going to air the dirt that you have on me, so be it, but I have to do what's right,’” a source familiar with Graham’s thinking told Good Morning DC.

Trump released a new video last night, a well-written speech that he, for whatever reason, could not give before. His talent and instinct for self-preservation should never be underestimated.

"That’s typical Trump,” a person who knows Trump well, told Good Morning DC.  “That's what he always does to try to save himself.  We've seen that act before. But this time around, the people that have given him the benefit of the doubt aren't giving him the benefit of the doubt.” 

Enter the art of the deal. 

To save Trump, Pence can ask Trump to resign.Trump agrees, cuts himself a deal, gets a presidential pardon from placeholder-President Pence, and then everyone lives happily ever after. Right? Well, not so fast. What sort of assurance do Democrats have that Trump will really resign? They also want to make sure that Trump will not re-emerge as a presidential candidate in 2024. Right then and there, impeachment, the sequel, comes into play. 

The strategy goes as follows: Democrats impeach Trump as a pressure mechanism and insurance policy that Trump will resign, Senate Republicans say that they will uphold the impeachment vote of the Congress, and Mike Pence, then, in order to save Trump, asks him to resign. As an impeached President, Trump cannot get a pardon. But, if Trump does agree to resign, secures the pardon, and irons out the agreement's terms of his exit, he can never run for president again. Checkmate. Washington DC trademark.

Is there any other choice? If everything inside the Washington beltway is about political salvation, then, there’s your answer. 

Security in the US Capitol was a massive failure. The US Capitol Police had turned down support from the FBI and Homeland Security before and during the unexpected breakdown, sources tell Good Morning DC. That's why the US Capitol Police Chief, Steven Sund, resigned. Experts who have reviewed the footage in the past 24 hours say that some members of the insurrection had paramilitary training, but they don't believe that it was a coordinated effort. “There were actors within the group of insurrection that had the worst possible intentions. I heard from Capitol Police that some of the guys had long guns and also had zip ties so that they could take hostages,” a source told me. 

As the sun rises on the nation's capital, the political fallout continues. It all had to come crashing down, eventually. Melania may end up leaving D.C. as soon as today. Even those who support Trump do not believe that the outgoing president can execute a smooth transition, welcome Biden into the White House and then ride down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration of the man he lost from. 

You didn’t hear it from us, but watch this space, as we have more scoop from the insiders. What a world. Good Morning, breaking news. Good Morning, DC. 

                                                                                                        ***

Good Morning DC takes you to the heart of the stories that matter. Get the most important stories of the day through the eyes of the editor-in-chief, Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer. Delivered to your inbox every morning.  

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