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Pence Navigates a Possible White House Run, and a Fraught Political Moment

“It’s true that Mike Pence was involved in Trump’s baseless election conspiracies months before the election and weeks afterward,” said David Axelrod, a former top adviser to former President Barack Obama. “He certainly didn’t disagree. But at the end of the day, he will be remembered for a critical moment when he resisted tremendous pressure and literally risked his life for our democracy. And for that, he deserves all the accolades he’s gotten.”

The Democrats’ complaints were directed not only at his tolerance for Mr. Trump’s norm-destroying behavior, but also at the policies of the administration. Mr Pence’s aides say he believed the government was pursuing policies he generally agreed with, including nominating Conservative candidates for three seats on the Supreme Court. His long loyalty to Mr Trump may resonate with some Republicans, but with the former president demanding total allegiance, it’s a tough line to walk.

“The irony is that Pence may have been Trump’s most important enabler,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist in California. “He was the regular traditional conservative Republican who went to donors and not only defended Trump and his policies, but insisted with a straight face that Donald J. Trump was a good man.”

Mr. Short, Mr. Pence’s former chief of staff, has been critical of aspects of the House committee’s work, at a time when Mr. Trump has encouraged his supporters to view the panel as illegitimate. This has enabled Mr Pence to maintain some distance from the work of the committee, for which he himself did not appear.

Officials are expected to try again to ask Mr Pence to testify, a move he is most likely to resist. On Sunday, Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and a committee member, left open the idea that his attendance could still happen.

“Certainly a possibility,” said Mr. Schiff. “We are not excluding anything or anyone at this point.”

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