It would appear that much like it was in Watergate, the big question in the Russia probe will be: What did the president know, and when did he know it?
But another question that is already being asked by investigators on the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team involves Vice President Mike Pence: What did he know, and when exactly did he know it?
In what may well wind up being one of the greatest instances of perfect political irony, it appears that Pence could well wind up being Mueller’s star witness when it comes to obstruction of justice charges against Trump.
Investigative journalist Murray Waas has just written a provocative article for The New York Review of Books, noting that Pence, along with White House counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, went to Trump in February of 2017 to let him know that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had to go because of his connections to Russia:
“New information suggests that Vice President Pence could prove to be a crucial witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. As a participant in crucial meetings that led to Flynn’s firing, Pence has vital information for investigators that can shed light on these questions.”
Keep in mind that Pence was chairman of the transition team, meaning that he had to approve Flynn to serve as national security adviser. He did, and he later came to regret that decision. But if the vice president wants to survive the coming firestorm from the Russia investigation, he has no choice but to cooperate with Mueller. And should he decide to dig in his heels, he can still be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury. If he lies there, perjury charges will be filed against him.
All of this makes Pence perhaps the most essential witness Mueller has as he proceeds with his investigation, Waas notes:
“The vice president is clearly the single most important witness to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the president of the United States obstructed justice who has yet to be heard from.”
Of course, Pence also has a selfish motive: He wants to be president and thinks he’s ordained by God hold that office one day. In other words, an ambitious man who appears slavishly loyal may wind up being Donald Trump’s worst enemy.