Mike Pence

Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET

Vice President Pence made a surprise visit to Iraq on Saturday to greet U.S. troops ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Pence and second lady Karen Pence flew to Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, aboard a C-17 military plane, along with the vice president's chief of staff Marc Short, his national security adviser Keith Kellogg and a small group of reporters.

The visit was kept secret because of security concerns.

Until Ambassador Gordon Sondland's public testimony on Wednesday, Vice President Pence had managed to keep out of the center of the impeachment inquiry.

For the first time during the public phase of the impeachment hearings, a witness connected Pence to a possible quid pro quo. Sondland said that just ahead of a Sept. 1 meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, he conferred with Pence about a link between U.S. military aid for Ukraine and the investigation that President Trump sought into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and much of officialdom was "in the loop" throughout the Ukraine affair, a key witness told Congress on Wednesday in watershed testimony.

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, rejected the idea that he was part of any back channel or shadow effort.

He said he conferred with the State Department and the National Security Council all this year as he and other envoys worked to try to get concessions for Trump from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The House Intelligence Committee has released the transcript of the closed-door deposition at the impeachment inquiry into President Trump by a foreign service officer detailed to work in the office of Vice President Pence.

Jennifer Williams was assigned to Pence's team in the spring to work on European and Russian issues. She was the first person from his office to testify in the inquiry into whether Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine while seeking a political favor. Trump denies he made such an offer.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

A foreign service officer detailed to work in the office of Vice President Pence testified behind closed doors on Thursday in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Jennifer Williams was assigned to work on European and Russian issues with the vice president's team in the spring. She is the first person from the vice president's office to testify in the probe of whether the president withheld military aid from Ukraine while seeking a political favor.

Vice President Mike Pence scolded the NBA and Nike on Thursday for backing down from support for Hong Kong protesters after China complained.

"Some of the NBA's biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China," Pence said in a speech about the Trump administration's China policy in Washington.

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

U.S. Vice President Pence says he has brokered a cease-fire deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to suspend the Turkish incursion into northern Syria, targeting Kurdish forces. However, minutes later, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that he did not consider it a cease-fire.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks to Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a challenge to a new alcohol law requiring the manufacturers of the top 25 brands to offer products to all distributors, recent flooding brings national attention in the form of visits from Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke and the Cherokee Nation elects Chuck Hoskin, Jr. to be its next Principal Chief.

The speaker giveth, and the speaker taketh away.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has reclaimed office space her predecessor, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., awarded to Vice President Pence.

Republicans gave Pence, a former House member, a first-floor bonus office in the U.S. Capitol shortly after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017.

The first thing you notice when you see it is that it's big, even huge.

And isn't that appropriate? After all, it's a massive 8-by-16-foot painting of President Trump.

For Trump, it's gotta be big.

"I paint large anyway," said the artist, Julian Raven of Elmira, N.Y. "It just happens that it works with Trump, as well."

The president is making yet another appearance before the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, on Saturday, and one thing is clear – this is his crowd.

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