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Vice President Mike Pence with Axios' Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy

Quick hits from the Axios interview Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence.

  • On North Korea: Pence said the nation is "the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet," and that nothing changes in the U.S.' approach until they get rid of their nuclear weapons.
  • On seeing Kim Yo-jung at the Olympics: "I didn't avoid the dictator's sister. But I did ignore her...I didn't believe it was proper for the USA to giver her any attention in that forum."
  • On Rob Porter: "As I said, and as the White House has said, I think the White House could have handled this better. And I still feel that way."
  • On chief of staff John Kelly's handling of Porter: "John Kelly has done a remarkable job as chief of staff...and I look forward to continuing to work with him for many, many months to come."
  • On special counsel Robert Mueller: Pence said the investigation isn't "something I spend a lot of time thinking about," but that the White House has "been fully cooperating with the Special Counsel, and I can assure you that we will continue to."
  • Pence said the U.S. intelligence communities have concluded that none of Russia's efforts "had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election." That isn't exactly true.
  • On Joy Behar's remarks about his faith on The View: "To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong...It demonstrates how out of touch same in the main stream media are with the faith and values of the American people."

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."