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Pence world looms over Jan. 6 and beyond: The Note – ABC News

The daylight between Pence and Trump matters greatly for the Republican Party.
US Capitol riots: Tracking the insurrection
The TAKE with Rick Klein
Finding daylight between Donald Trump and Mike Pence was an almost always futile task for the four years they served together as president and vice president.
That changed, infamously and consequentially, on Jan. 6. The extent to which their perspectives on that day continue to diverge matters greatly for examinations of what it meant — as well as what it means for the Republican Party going forward.
The committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol suffered setbacks with the news that Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial won’t start until July and that former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows is no longer cooperating.
Contempt charges against Meadows are expected to be initiated by the committee Wednesday. Yet it’s now becoming clear that legal fights with him and other potential witnesses could consume much of 2022.
But this week also brought the news that former Pence chief of staff Marc Short has been subpoenaed by the committee. Executive privilege claims could come into play with him and others in the Pence orbit, though there’s much they know that wouldn’t necessarily involve communications with the former president.
Meanwhile, Pence himself is laying the groundwork for a potential 2024 run that may not be conditioned on Trump’s decision about running again. He’s preparing extensive midterm campaigning and has given a series of policy speeches — including one last week about the Supreme Court and abortion rights — that place him in the middle of debates that are relevant for conservative activists and donors.
While Pence has honed his answers about Jan. 6 in part to minimize friction with Trump, the former president has attacked him a few times publicly despite his long-held loyalties.
Pence has said he and Trump will likely never “see eye to eye” about that day. But his perspective on the past could be compelling to some Republicans interested in thinking more about the future.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
While it’s no secret that Vice President Kamala Harris has been tasked with a slate of seemingly unwinnable responsibilities, she’s now put renewed focus on one of her signature issues that could yield tangible change — combating high maternal mortality rates.
“In the United States of America, in the 21st century, being pregnant and giving birth should not carry such great risk, but the truth is women in our nation, and this is a hard truth, women in our nation are dying before, during and after childbirth,” Harris said while hosting the White House’s first Maternal Health Day of Action. “Women in our nation are dying at a higher rate than any other developed nation in our world.”
During her remarks Tuesday, Harris spoke about disproportionate maternal mortality rates for women of color and lack of health care access for rural women. She called for the Senate to invest more than $3 billion to fund maternal health initiatives by passing the Build Back Better spending plan. Those funds would go toward efforts like growing and diversifying the workforce that supports women during and after pregnancy, increasing maternal health research and expanding postpartum health care coverage, according to the White House.
“In the United States of America, we must do everything we can to protect and to strengthen both maternal health and reproductive health,” Harris said.
The cause is opportunity to make meaningful change in an area of particular importance to Black women who, according to the CDC, die of pregnancy-related causes at a rate more than three times that of white women. It’s also a way for Harris to return to an issue she is passionate about, that she highlighted during her Senate tenure and her own presidential run while promoting President Joe Biden’s agenda. Lastly, it could be a win for Harris and her office that has been plagued by reports of dysfunction and high-level staff departures.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
A weekend campaign trail appearance by Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw has gone viral in political circles, as the incumbent congressman publicly blasted members of his own party.
“There’s two types of members of Congress — there’s performance artists and there’s legislators. Performance artists are the ones who get all the attention. The ones you think are more conservative because they know how to say slogans real well. They know how to recite the lines that they know that our voters want to hear,” Crenshaw told a group of supporters, before adding that there are “grifters in our midst.”
Crenshaw’s comments were broadly directed at the House Freedom Caucus, whose members he alleged did not fully back former President Donald Trump’s agenda, but rather chose to espouse inflammatory rhetoric for personal gain. Crenshaw also appeared to defend Rep. Adam Kinzinger for voting with Trump a vast majority of the time, despite now being estranged from his party.
The intraparty fissure exposes a likely emerging theme of the 2022 primary months as Republican candidates weigh how far to the right they need to go to win, especially in districts where incumbents face primary opponents. Whatever differences emerge, Trump is still sure to be at the center of gravity as evidenced by Rep. Devin Nunes’ recent decision to join the former president’s new media company, rather than gamble on an elevated role in the House.
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Wednesday morning’s episode begins with what was said in the high-stakes phone call between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin as Russia masses troops near Ukraine. ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce discusses the next steps for the administration. Then, ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams previews the trial of Kim Potter, the former police officer charged with manslaughter for shooting Daunte Wright. And, what’s behind Amazon’s major server outage? ABC News’ Elizabeth Schulze explains why large parts of the economy were thrown off by the outage.
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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.
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