One of the big political talkers of the day comes courtesy of the Atlantic, which is out with a lengthy piece on the vice president under the provocative headline of "God's Plan for Mike Pence." Among the interesting nuggets is that Pence considered what amounts to a "coup" against Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Access Hollywood tape scandal, writes McKay Coppins. Immediately after the scandal broke, Pence let the Republican National Committee know that he was ready to replace Trump as the GOP nominee, even though it was just four weeks from Election Day. Soon, GOP insiders began buzzing about the possibility of a ticket with Condoleezza Rice as Pence's vice president, writes Coppins.
At the same time, a group of billionaires started asking around about the possibility of a political buyout of sorts—how much would it take to get Trump to walk away? One source tells Coppins they were given a price of $800 million, though it's unclear whether an offer was ever made or whether Trump himself was aware of any of this. In any event, the scandal faded and Pence soon found himself as vice-president-elect. Coppins writes that this near-coup was not a matter of "political opportunism" for Pence, a devout Christian who was "genuinely shocked" at Trump's comments in the recording. It's been previously reported that Pence considered leaving the ticket at that point, but the Atlantic story makes the case that he went much further than that. Read it in full here. (Read more Longform stories.)