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Former President Trump — in a taped interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News that was shared with Axios — defended, quite extensively, supporters who threatened to "hang" former Vice President Mike Pence.

Why it matters: Well, it is unprecedented for a former president to openly say it was OK to threaten the life of his vice president.

  • Oh, the two men are on track to run against each other for the GOP nomination in 2024.

Zoom out: This is a slice of a 90-minute interview — conducted at Mar-a-Lago on March 18 — for Karl's book, "Betrayal," out on Tuesday.

  • More news-breaking audio from the interview will air Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Go deeper: We will let the Q&A tell the story.

Jonathan Karl: "Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?"

  • Trump: "No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think — "

Karl: "Because you heard those chants — that was terrible. I mean — "

  • Trump: "He could have — well, the people were very angry."

Karl: "They were saying 'hang Mike Pence.'"

  • Trump: "Because it's common sense, Jon. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that? And I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to — almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he's passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent? Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election. I didn't talk about the main point, which is the legislatures did not approve — five states. The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close."

📚 Preorder ... Read a "Betrayal" adaptation about "deputy president" Johnny McEntee ... Read a "Betrayal" excerpt about Trump's disastrous Tulsa rally.

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Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Nov 15, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

New poll of Iowa voters signals Trump has edge over Biden in 2024

Photos: Scott Olson, Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The majority of likely Iowa voters would vote for former President Donald Trump (51%) over President Joe Biden (40%) in the 2024 general election, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Between the lines: Independents in Iowa are giving Trump the edge over Biden, favoring him 45% to 37%, the poll published Saturday shows.

1 hour ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.