Coincidence is the hobgoblin of the little minds of the conspiracy theorists. Nevertheless, when George Beall, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, opened a corruption investigation into public officials in Baltimore county in early 1973, it was a happy coincidence that his corruption investigation led him to former Maryland Governor and then-Vice President of the United States, Spiro T Agnew.
In a single stroke, George Beall rescued America from the disaster of an Agnew presidency. A mere ten months after Agnew resigned the vice presidency, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, bequeathing America with two and a half years of the stumbling, well-meaning, but at least not evil, presidency of Gerald R Ford. And the rest, as they say, is history. This brings us to Mike Pence.
Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has released his heavily redacted thirteen-page sentencing memo for Michael Flynn on Tuesday, we note that he did not redact one key bit of information. The memo clearly states that the Trump transition team was heavily involved in Flynn’s illegal dealings with Russia. And as we all know, the man who headed up the Trump transition team was none other than Vice President Mike Pence.
Even after being notified in advance by Congressman Elijah Cummings that Mike Flynn had committed perjury and lied about his contacts with foreign governments, especially Turkey, Mike Pence went on national television and declared that Flynn was innocent of all charges.
Thanks to Mueller’s new memo we know that Pence, while defending Michael Flynn on television, knew that Flynn was also lying about his contacts with Russia. Flynn committed numerous crimes, and Mike Pence did everything possible to cover up those crimes. It may turn out that Pence will be implicated in those very same crimes as well.
But unlike Michael Flynn, Mike Pence has no recourse. Flynn’s lenient sentencing memo suggests he already sang like the proverbial blackbird of a newly broken morning. And Robert Mueller probably doesn’t need another blackbird. So history may once again conveniently rescue us from a perfectly awful man stepping into the role of the presidency, should Trump be forced to resign. Only this time it won’t be a coincidence.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.