Even as Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been meticulously hacking away at Donald Trump and his criminal co-conspirators, Mike Pence has been content to lay low and stay out of the mess – until now. Suddenly Pence is giving an interview to NBC News and demanding that Mueller “wrap it up” soon. This is the most risky and reckless move Pence has ever made. But despite his ideological extremism, he likes to play these kinds of things cautiously – so there’s a specific reason he’s doing this right now.
To give you an idea of how risky this move is for Mike Pence, it’s already resulted in MSNBC host Morning Joe Scarborough demanding to know what Pence knew and when he knew it. Despite Pence’s lying effort to cover up the Trump-Russia scandal, and how clear it’s been all along that Pence knew what was going on, the media has largely given him a free pass until now. He had to have known that he’d be making himself an instant target by saying what he just said. So why now?
You have to start by taking a look at what’s transpired this week in the Trump-Russia scandal. The biggest development, by far, is the revelation that everyone from AT&T to a Kremlin oligarch was stuffing cash into the pockets of Donald Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen, for the sake of influence over Trump. Clearly the word was out on the street that the Trump administration was for sale to anyone willing to make a cash bribe, so it’s a safe bet that at least some entities tried buying off Pence as well. After all, Pence is the one who understands policy, and he’s the one who’s worked with the GOP Congress on its few legislative victories.
To be clear, there’s no known evidence that Mike Pence has actually been accepting bribes. But something spooked him this week into finally making the extraordinarily risky move of coming out against Robert Mueller, knowing that doing so would place him firmly in the media’s crosshairs. Now we know what we’re looking for: evidence that anyone ranging from U.S. corporations to the Kremlin may have been buying Pence off. If that’s not what spooked him, something else did. In any case, Pence just gave away that he now knows he’s going down as a result of Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report