Pence’s approach on Russia is part of a strategy to avoid unnecessary peril. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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With Congress barreling into yet another big budget battle this week, Vice President Mike Pence is headed halfway around the world to Asia.Even as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation draws closer to President Donald Trump himself, vacuuming up interviews and documents from senior Trump advisers, Pence largely has stayed out of the conversation.Pence has maintained an almost Teflon-like quality in the Russia probe that has cast a long shadow over Trump's White House.It fits the risk-averse pattern that Pence developed even before he became vice president.Pence has a long track record of largely avoiding the Russia entanglements that have ensnared other members of the Trump administration.In firing Flynn from his White House position as national security adviser last year, Trump cited Flynn's lies to Pence about his discussions with the Russian ambassador, an answer that shielded the vice president from culpability. And when Flynn later reached a plea deal with Mueller's team, Pence's office said that proved Flynn had lied to them.
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