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Mike Pence speaks to the Faith & Freedom Coalition convention in Kissimmee, Fla., last week. Photo: Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP

Former Vice President Pence, in a significant speech at the Reagan Library in California last evening, declared that the Constitution "affords the vice president no authority to reject or return electoral votes submitted to the Congress by the states."

Driving the news: "I understand the disappointment many feel about the last election," Pence said. "I can even relate. Remember, I lost reelection too. But there's more at stake than our party or our political fortunes."

  • "Truth is, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president."

Why it matters: This is Pence directly addressing — even leaning into — what he did on Jan. 6 in the context of a speech about the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

  • Pence is attaching his actions on Jan. 6 to his vision of the future of the party — drawing a clear line between his vision and former President Trump's.

"If we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections — we’ll lose our country," Pence said at the library's "A Time for Choosing" series.

  • "Now more than ever, America needs the Republican Party to be the party of the Constitution."

Watch via C-SPAN.

Go deeper

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Biden’s face mask campaign requires more imports from China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American mask manufacturers are getting whiplash, having gone from sleepy sector to mission-critical industry overnight — only to see sales collapse before now being suddenly in demand again.

Why it matters: As the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 rages, health experts now say Americans need legitimate N95 or KN95 masks to best protect themselves — not widely available fakes or less effective cloth masks.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Ukraine tells senators post-invasion sanctions are no help

Zelensky. Photo: Johanna Geron/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. senators visiting Kyiv this week that waiting to impose sanctions on Russia until after an invasion is of no use to Ukraine, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: The Senate is currently working on a major sanctions package to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans are united in their support for Ukraine, but divided over whether it would be more effective to sanction Russia now to signal resolve, or hold up the threat of future sanctions to demonstrate the high costs of an invasion.