Back in August 2018, when the Russia investigation brought us a guilty verdict for 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a guilty plea from Trump’s former attorney/fixer Michael Cohen, we heard absolutely nothing from Vice President Mike Pence. He didn’t send out any relevant tweets and made no public comments or speeches where he brought up the Russia investigation. He didn’t even engage in his usual fawning defense of his boss the way he has in the past.
Pence has also been quiet since the news broke this week that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump shortly after he fired former FBI chief James Comey.
So, you may ask, what’s gotten into to Mike Pence?
Well, Pence’s connections to Manafort — who at one point was cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller — may have something to do with why he’s been keeping such a low profile.
Though it doesn’t get reported very often, it was Paul Manafort who convinced Trump to choose Pence as his running mate. Trump was reportedly leaning toward former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when Manafort all but insisted that he pick Pence instead.
Pence has another connection to the Russia matter that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will also want to explore: Pence, as head of the transition team, was in charge of vetting Michael Flynn to be national security adviser. If Pence knew Flynn had taken money from both Russia and Turkey, why did he approve him to serve in such an important position? And if he didn’t know, why did he do such a piss poor job of vetting a man who would be advising Trump on matters of national security?
Gwendolyn Smith reports for the New Civil Rights Movement:
“Many are also curious about Pence’s involvements with former adviser Mike Flynn, questioning if he lied to protect the general in January of 2017 when he declared that Flynn had not discussed, ‘anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia’ with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“Flynn, in his guilty plea, admitted to discussing sanctions with Kislyak, and that he was following the instructions of ‘a senior member’ of the campaign.”
While many conservatives may insist that Pence would be a competent replacement if Trump is impeached, it now appears that the vice president has his own legal problems as they relate to the Russia probe. In fact, Pence may be just as deeply compromised as Trump.
So if you were wondering what might happen under a President Pence, that may not even be a possibility after Mueller unseals his next indictments and sends his report to Congress.