By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Pence bookends at the U.S. Capitol

On Jan. 6, 2001, freshman U.S. Rep. Mike Pence watched Vice President Al Gore preside over the ceremonial Electoral College count that sent George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to the White House. On Sept. 11, 2001, Rep. Pence ignored a Capitol Police order to evacuate the U.S. Capitol as Flight 93 barreled toward our citadel of democracy. On Thursday, the House Jan. 6 Select Committee heard harrowing evidence that the insurrectionist mob intending to partially decapitate the U.S. government - taking aim at Vice President Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi - came within 40 feet of the vice president while chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" We saw photos of the Pence family in the ceremonial Senate office, with Karen Pence rapidly closing curtains, the Pence brothers glancing at each other while the veep's daughter had a shocked expression on her face as the din of the mob arose about them. Pence lawyer Greg Jacob: "I could hear the din of the rioters in the building while we moved, but I don’t think I was aware that they were as close as that.” This became the Mike Pence bookends, confronting terrorists, both foreign and domestic.

And there was President Trump goading the crowd on the Ellipse around noon on Jan. 6: “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so, because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” And later, as the mob encroached into the Capitol: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify,” Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m. “USA demands truth!”

Greg Jacob: “There was no way that our framers, who abhorred concentrated power, who had broken away from the tyranny of George III, would ever have put one person, particularly not a person who had a direct interest in the outcome because they were on the ticket for the election, in a role to have a decisive impact on the outcome of the election." Jan. 6 committee Chairman Bennie Thompson: “We are fortunate for Mr. Pence’s courage on January 6. Thanks in part to Mike Pence, our democracy withstood Donald Trump’s scheme and the violence of January 6.”

2. Judge Luttig's warning for 2024


Former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig, who advised Vice President Pence, told the committee: “I would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the vice president overturn the 2020 election." Had the vice president obeyed Trump’s orders, Luttig chillingly said it would have “plunged America” into “a revolution within a constitutional crisis.” He warned America: “Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy. They would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election, but succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020. I don't speak those words lightly. I would have never spoken those words ever in my life, except that that's what the former president and his allies are telling us.”

3. Trump's crackpot lawyers scheme

Eric Herschmann, a lawyer advising Donald Trump, told Trump attorney and coup d'etat architect John Eastman in recorded testimony shown at the hearing. “You’re going to turn around and tell 78-plus million people in this country that your theory is this is how you’re going to invalidate their votes?” He warned: “You’re going to cause riots in the streets.” Greg Jacob: “I said, ‘John, if the vice president did what you were asking him to do, we would lose 9-0 in the Supreme Court, wouldn’t we?' And after some further discussion, he acknowledged, ‘Well, yeah, you’re right, we would lose 9-0.’” Eastman, who took the 5th Amendment 100 times during testimony, said to Rudy Giuliani: “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.”

4. Ambassador Donnelly returns

U.S. Vatican Ambassador Joe Donnelly returned to Michiana from Rome on Thusday. Expect to see him at tonight's Big Dem Dinner as well as Saturday's Indiana Democrat Convention. He's the most likely 2024 gubernatorial nominee. Donnelly spoke at the monthly neighborhood meeting of the Mishawaka City Council about his work in Rome. “Hard work helping others do your job. Do it well, walk humbly, that's who we are. I try to be reflective of our community.”

5. Will Holcomb attend GOP convention?

A bigger question comes for Saturday's GOP convention at the Indiana State Fairgrounds: Will Gov. Eric Holcomb appear? He's expected to circulate at the GOP's events at the Crowne Plaza tonight. But will he be on hand if delegates reject Secretary of State Holli Sullivan for Diego Morales, who has accused the gov of "abusing his power." Sabato's Crystal Ball published Morning Consult polling showing Holcomb's net approval at +23%, while he is just 1% shy of Donald Trump's approval in the state. Should Morales win, will Team Holcomb get on board for the fall?  Meanwhile, Knox County Clerk Dave Shelton announced 56 county clerks were endorsing his candidacy, giving him some late momentum.

Welcome to Indy, conventioneers. Watch for our coverage on Saturday. It's The Atomic!