Is VP Pence pre­par­ing to run for pres­i­dent on his own?

Metro USA (New York) - - News -

The sec­ond most pow­er­ful per­son in the United States can’t dis­ap­pear as mag­i­cally as Waldo, but Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence has been con­spic­u­ously miss­ing from the pub­lic eye in the last few days.

Pres­i­dent Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tinue to suf­fer at­tacks that reached a crescendo on Wed­nes­day when the deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral ap­pointed ex-FBI Direc­tor Robert Mueller to lead an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions that Trump’s camp col­luded with Rus­sia to in­flu­ence the out­come of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

While 48 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are in fa­vor of im­peach­ment, Pence looked to his own po­lit­i­cal fu­ture. Pence filed pa­per­work with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion on Wed­nes­day, establishing the Great Amer­ica Com­mit­tee, a lead­er­ship po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee. Through the PAC, Pence will be able to raise money for his po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests and make do­na­tions to down-ticket can­di­dates.

The PAC, into which Pence can in­cor­po­rate funds raised in the past, will also cover the costs of Pence’s trav­els on Air Force Two to cam­paign for Repub­li­can can­di­dates across the na­tion.

Pre­vi­ously, of­fi­cials have used party or cam­paign funds to cover travel costs; this is the first time a sit­ting VP has formed a sep­a­rate po­lit­i­cal ap­pa­ra­tus, NBC re­ported.

The birth of the po­lit­i­cal arm will “pro­vide re­sources for the vice pres­i­dent to ac­tu­ally sup­port can­di­dates who are sup­port­ive of the pres­i­dent’s agenda,” a source told NBC.

There is no doubt that Pence has ben­e­fit­ted from his ties to Trump, which has landed him the vice pres­i­den­tial gig, but could those same ties sink his as­pi­ra­tions?

“Don’t read into 2020 as any­thing other than his run­ning for re­elec­tion as vice pres­i­dent in 2020 and sup­port­ing other can­di­dates,” a source told NBC.

Still, the tim­ing of the PAC for­ma­tion has raised some eye­brows.

Lead­er­ship PACs can ac­cept do­na­tions from in­di­vid­u­als up to $5,000.

Nick Ay­ers and Marty Obst, two of Pence’s aides, will lead the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

KIM­BERLY M. AQUILINA @KimESTAqui

GETTY IMAGES

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence has been largely ab­sent dur­ing what is a con­tro­ver­sial week for Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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