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Pence and his chief of staff Nick Ayers with the Georgian opposition leaders. Photo: Zurab Kurtsikidze / Pool via AP

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers told wealthy GOP donors to move to "purge" lawmakers who refused to support President Trump at a closed-door Republican National Committee event today, per Politico.

Why it matters: Pence, a former congressman, has been a bridge between Trump's more populist tendencies in the White House and the establishment Republicans in power on Capitol Hill. Having such a prominent member of his staff deliver such a targeted message makes it clear that frustrations with Congress are coming to a head inside the Trump administration.

Ayers' quotes, as obtained by Politico:

  • "Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him? If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him."
  • "I'm not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this. But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We're definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don't have this done by Dec. 31, we're going out, we're recruiting opponents, we're maxing out to their campaigns, and we're funding super PACs to defeat all of you."
  • "If we do what we've told the American people for almost a decade we're going to do on Obamacare, and if we pass tax cuts, we're going to have a governing majority for a very long time. If we fail to do those two things, people who say, 'Well we can't lose the Senate, it's way too favorable,' I disagree with that. I totally disagree with that."

Go deeper

Updated 49 mins ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

53 mins ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.