Pence’s latest public parting with Trump fuels more 2024 speculation: The Note

Meanwhile, his tour of early presidential primary states continues this week.

August 18, 2022, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Averi Harper

Former Vice President Mike Pence has again publicly broken with former President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday at an event that hosts presidential hopefuls at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Pence said he would consider testifying before the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, a probe which Trump has repeatedly denounced as politically motivated and illegitimate. Pence said a former vice president being summoned to Capitol Hill for testimony would be "unprecedented" -- but he didn't rule it out.

"I don't want to prejudge forever any formal invitation rendered to us. We give it due consideration, but my first obligation is to continue to uphold my oath, continue to uphold this framework of government enshrined in the Constitution; this created the greatest nation in the history of the world," Pence said.

Sources said committee investigators have been privately engaging with Pence's lawyer about securing his potential testimony for months, according to ABC News' Katherine Faulders.

In its much-watched public hearings this summer, the House committee chronicled a pressure campaign on Pence, waged by Trump and his inner circle, to try to get him to further their efforts to overturn the 2020 election -- something Pence has publicly stressed he had no authority to do.

On Tuesday in New Hampshire, he also pushed back on criticism of the FBI from within his party -- and from Trump -- following the raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate while calling for transparency from the DOJ.

"The Republican Party is the party of law and order," Pence said. "And these attacks on the FBI must stop; calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police."

The statements are more instances in which Pence has separated himself from Trump. It comes as questions continue to swirl about if he will launch a 2024 presidential bid. Meanwhile, Pence's tour of early presidential primary states continues this week with a stop at Iowa's State Fair.

PHOTO: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky testifies before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update to the ongoing Federal response to COVID-19, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 16, 2022.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky testifies before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update to the ongoing Federal response to COVID-19, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 16, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters, FILE

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

One of the most visible -- and contentious -- social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was the often-confusing public health messaging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was seized on by those seeking to promote politicization and misinformation.

On Wednesday, following the April launch of an internally initiated review into the CDC's handling of the pandemic, Director Rochelle Walensky acknowledged the failures of the agency's ability to effectively respond to the pandemic while also laying out a series of changes aimed at rectifying past practices. As reported by ABC News' Sasha Pezenik and Cheyenne Haslett, a summary of the findings from the review, obtained by ABC News and confirmed by the CDC, said that the "need for change came through loud and clear."

"For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations," Walensky said in a statement.

The findings revealed that it "takes too long for CDC to publish its data and science for decision making," that its guidance is "confusing and overwhelming" and that agency staff turnover during the COVID response "created gaps and other challenges for partners."

Going forward, Walensky said she will seek to have the CDC prioritize improving "accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness" within and outside the agency while also committing to sharing "data for action" rather than taking an academic approach to public health.

Walensky did not lay out a timeline for when these changes -- among others -- would be implemented, although immediate changes could be more profound amid current simmering public concern over monkeypox and vaccine access.

PHOTO: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren during separate news conferences in Tampa, Fla.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren during separate news conferences in Tampa, Fla.
Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP, FILE

The TIP with Miles Cohen

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis crisscrosses the country campaigning for election-denying Republicans, a legal battle is brewing back home.

The Florida prosecutor whom DeSantis suspended sued the governor on Wednesday, claiming his removal from office on Aug 4. violated his First Amendment rights.

In the lawsuit, filed in federal court, Democrat Andrew Warren alleges that DeSantis retaliated against him for joining with other progressive prosecutors across the nation, who vowed not to prosecute crimes related to abortion and gender-transition treatments for children.

The suspended state attorney -- who has spent the last few weeks on cable TV opining about his ouster -- alleges the governor abused his power and did so for political gain. A spokesman for DeSantis said those comments are "yet another display of his lack of respect for the law."

DeSantis said he suspended Warren because the prosecutor has a duty to prosecute crimes as dictated by Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda. He did not respond to a request for comment following the filing of the lawsuit.

The executive order to remove Warren was DeSantis' latest legislative move to garner national attention. The rising Republican is now stumping across America, rallying with GOP hopefuls and leaving many to mull the possibility that he is testing the waters for a presidential run.

During the first stop of his tour on Sunday in Carlsbad, New Mexico, DeSantis ticked through his victories: banning Critical Race Theory in schools in Florida and revoking the special tax status for Walt Disney World. He then pulled a new laurel out of his pocket: taking out Andrew Warren.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

41. That's the share of registered voters who told Yahoo News/YouGov in a July 28-Aug. 1 poll that if former President Trump won in 2024 that result would be "the worst thing that could happen to America" while 39% said the same of President Joe Biden. At FiveThirtyEight we debated whether there was a path for anyone in 2024 who isn't Trump or Biden. The answer is … maybe? At this point, it just looks like it is going to be pretty hard for a Democrat to break through if Biden runs and the same is true for Republicans if Trump runs -- although there's likely more wiggle room on the GOP side.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. "Start Here" begins Thursday morning with a look at the state of the GOP after Rep. Liz Cheney's primary loss. ABC News political contributor Sarah Isgur leads us off. Then Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the CDC, gives us his take on the health agency's plans for reorganization. And ABC's Victor Oquendo reports on a Florida court's ruling that a teenager was "not mature" enough to have an abortion. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Congress is in recess; President Biden's vacation continues.
  • First lady Jill Biden is still recovering from COVID-19 in South Carolina. A spokesperson told ABC News on Wednesday that she was "feeling a bit better today, but still experiencing cold-like symptoms."

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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Friday for the latest.

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