This week Mike Pence did something that caught everyone off guard on all sides: after having cautiously laid low on the subject all along, Pence abruptly called for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to end his investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Pence had to have known that doing so would cause people to become suspicious of what role he played in the scandal, and what just changed that caused him to suddenly fear it. Pence took this calculated risk for a reason – and it’s now clear that there’s more to it.
Suddenly the claws have come out when it comes to Mike Pence, and some of the most notable claws are coming from prominent conservative voices. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman, demanded to know what Pence knew about Trump-Russia and when he knew it. George Will, a conservative columnist for the Washington Post, announced that Pence is even worse than Trump.
The American left has always despised Mike Pence, and the American middle doesn’t like him much either. But the American right has long defended Pence, because he’s a conservative ideologue. The party line for traditional conservatives is that they wished Pence were president instead of Trump. Yet now, suddenly, conservative insiders are stepping up to rip Pence to shreds – even as Pence is suddenly acting like he’s petrified about the Trump-Russia scandal.
We’ve known all along that Mike Pence would eventually be made to answer for the lies he told in trying to cover up the Trump-Russia scandal. We’ve also long suspected that, in his role as the head of the Trump transition team, he knew all about the scandal – and that Robert Mueller has the emails to prove it. But now there’s something else going on. Just as the Trump-Russia investigation has is branching off into a Trump bribery scandal, Mike Pence is panicking, and conservative insiders are panicking about him. Something is afoot here, and for reasons that are still revealing themselves, it’s Pence’s time in the proverbial barrel.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report