In the White House game of thrones, where senior administration officials fend off adversaries at every turn while vying for power and prominence, Mike Pence has been a relatively quiet player.
Thursday night, then, was quite unusual. Two major US media outlets - CNN and NBC News - ran articles, complete with quotes from anonymous White House sources, distancing the vice-president from the current chaos in the administration and the running controversy over possible Trump campaign ties to the Russian government during the 2016 US presidential election.
"We certainly knew we needed to be prepared for the unconventional," an unnamed Pence aide told CNN's Elizabeth Landers, but "not to this extent".
If Thursday night's news is any indication, the vice-president may now be trying to put some distance between himself and an administration that has made a habit of leaving him out on a limb.
If the Trump presidency is truly in trouble, and this week's appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a dark storm cloud on the horizon, this could be evidence that the vice-president is contemplating a future after Mr Trump.
Politico ran a story earlier this week about conservatives - on the record and off - who were "hinting" that a President Pence would be a welcome reprieve from the drama of the Trump presidency.
And there was another tidbit this week that has stoked the flames.
Mr Pence, according to Federal Election Commission filings, has started a committee to collect political donations.
A source within the vice-president's office told NBC that the "Great American Committee", as it's named, will allow Mr Pence to cover travel expenses and support Republican candidates in upcoming elections.
It's a move, however, that none of the vice-president's predecessors ever made - and has been a traditional opening step for past presidential candidates.
Democrats have also taken note of Mr Pence's maneuvers and are adjusting their fire accordingly.
"Mike Pence was a major player in the scandals enveloping the Trump administration, and no amount of spinning and leaking to reporters from him and his team can change that fact," writes Oliver Willis of the liberal website Shareblue.
There's no telling what Mr Trump, who prizes loyalty above all else, thinks of all this.
There is of course one key difference between Mr Pence and anyone else working in the Trump administration.
The vice-president got his job through the will of American voters (or, at least, the Electoral College).
Mr Trump can't fire him.
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