By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Pence’s Capitol alpha & omega
Mike Pence began his congressional career refusing a police order to clear the U.S. Capitol as Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001 was bearing down on the citadel of democracy. According to the new book "I Alone Can Fix It," Vice President Pence refused a Secret Service request that he leave the building on Jan. 6, 2021 as insurrectionists inspired by President Trump had invaded the building, chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" 

According to authors, Washington Post reporters Carol Leonigg and Philip Rucker, at 2:13, Pence’s Secret Service detail removed the vice president from the Senate floor and took him through a side door to his ceremonial office nearby, along with his wife, Karen, their daughter Charlotte, and his brother, Greg, a congressman from Indiana. The Pences were hurried across one of the Capitol’s many ornate marble hallways to get there, but the path proved eerily close to danger. One or two minutes later, marauders chanting Pence’s name charged up the stairs to that precise landing in front of the hallway, and a quick-thinking Goodman led the rioters in a different direction, away from the Senate chamber. Had Pence walked past any later, the intruders who called him a traitor would have spotted him. 

Tim Giebels, the lead special agent in charge of the vice president’s protective detail, twice asked Pence to evacuate the Capitol, but Pence refused. “I’m not leaving the Capitol,” he told Giebels. The last thing the vice president wanted was the people attacking the Capitol to see his 20-car motorcade fleeing. That would only vindicate their insurrection. The third time Giebels asked Pence to evacuate, it was more of an order than a request. “They’re in the building,” Giebels said. “The room you’re in is not secure. There are glass windows. I need to move you. We’re going.” At 2:26, after a team of agents scouted a safe path to ensure the Pences would not encounter trouble, Giebels and the rest of Pence’s detail guided them down a staircase to a secure subterranean area that rioters couldn’t reach, where the vice president’s armored limousine awaited. Giebels asked Pence to get in one of the vehicles. “We can hold here,” he said. “I’m not getting in the car, Tim,” Pence replied. “I trust you, Tim, but you’re not driving the car. If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I’m not getting in the car.”

2. Trump with 'My Kevin'

CNN: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with Donald Trump on Thursday at the former President's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, as the California Republican is considering which members of his conference to appoint to a special committee tasked with investigating the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol. Among those under consideration are Hoosier U.S. Reps. Jim Banks and Jackie Walorski. In a statement after the meeting, McCarthy said he and Trump had a "productive conversation regarding House Republicans' record fundraising, upcoming Congressional special elections, and the latest work being carried out to target vulnerable Democrats." "As the midterm elections draw closer, I look forward to working together to build upon our success in 2020 where House Republicans flipped 15 seats, lost zero incumbents and elected the most women in conference history," McCarthy said. "I appreciate President Trump's commitment to help House Republicans defeat Democrats and Take Back the House in 2022."

3. HPI's takeaways

The emerging details of new books "I Alone Can Fix It" and "Frankly We Did Win This Election" by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender are simply chilling. We are discovering how close the Trump-inspired coup d'etat came to derailing the cornerstone of American democracy, which is the peaceful transfer of power. We've learned that Gen. Mark Milley feared a Nazi-style coup d'etat, calling Trump a "classic authoritarian leader" with "nothing to lose." In a statement Thursday, Trump responded, "If I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley." That's revealing and stunning. Can you conjure another American president musing about a coup d'etat, let alone orchestrating one? Little wonder that House Minority Leader McCarthy was resistant to a bipartisan commission to investigate and now vacillates on how to handle a Jan. 6 House select committee like a spineless isopod. But in a democracy, the true story and sordid details are destined to come out, like a consistent drumbeat of troubling details that in former days would have been released at 5 p.m. on a Friday. The remnants of the Republican Party are flirting with disaster in 2022 and 2024. 

4. Holcomb won't send Guard to Tex/Mex border

U.S. Reps. Banks and Victoria Spartz called on Gov. Eric Holcomb to send Indiana National Guard troops to the U.S./Mexican border. Holcomb refused, telling WOWO, “It is highly unfortunate that border states are being forced to divert their own critical resources toward what is clearly a federal responsibility. Indiana has time and time again answered the call to assist states in need including now assisting on the southern border with 123 of our Indiana National Guardsman in and around Chula Vista, California tasked with border protection and monitoring. Our two largest enforcement agencies, Indiana State Police and DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, are currently in their heavy season as it relates to the significant uptick in drug interdictions, safety on our roads, as well as our response efforts in our parks and bodies of water during these summer months. Currently, due to my direct responsibility to the taxpayers of Indiana and the focus on the issues I stated above. I am unable to take additional personnel and law enforcement officers off their current state duties and mission to participate in this important yet short-term and non-reimbursable assignment.”

5. COVID updates

The Indianapolis Colts are one of the lowest COVID vaccinated teams in the NLF, with less than 50% of the team getting the shot. Major League Baseball's post-All Star Game second half was supposed to begin Thursday night, but six New York Yankees were relegated to COVID protocols and its game against the Boston Red Sox was postponed. U.S. Sen. Mike Braun has cosponsored the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I don't know how many times y'all heard me say this, but I'm a huge fan of vaccination. As a polio victim myself when I was young, I've studied that disease. Seventy years, 70 years to come up with two vaccines that finally ended the polio threat. And so I'm perplexed by the difficulty we have in finishing the job.” The Indiana Department of Health announced Thursday that 586 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID, with one additional death.

Have a great weekend, folks. It's
The Atomic!