Whether by design or because he’s just not an interesting criminal, the Vice Proselytizer, Michael Richard Pence, has been reasonably successful in staying out of the worst of the news surrounding Trump – but that might not last.
First off, go listen to the Rachel Maddow podcast Bag Man about the recondite history of the Spiro Agnew resignation. It does history justice and it also made this article possible. Before Agnew resigned as Vice President in October 1973, sending relatively inoffensive conservative Gerald Ford to the White House as VP, the prosecutors on his case faced a deadline problem.
What would happen if Nixon went down before Agnew? At this point, the Watergate investigations were near their peak, and the prosecutors in Agnew’s case were rightfully terrified by the prospect of having Agnew, an unabashed criminal and hardline idiot, in the Oval Office should Nixon resign before they could indict Agnew. He would be a lot harder to touch at that point and it would look especially bad for the US if two of its presidents resigned in quick succession. Fortunately, they were able to successfully force his resignation and the Democrats used the leverage of Nixon’s failing presidency to have considerable influence in choosing Gerald Ford as Agnew’s successor, and thus adding another feather to Lady Liberty’s cap.
To think that Mike Pence isn’t complicit in at least one of the staggering number of alleged crimes connected to the Trump Administration, Transition, and Campaign is tantamount to believing that Star Wars is a documentary. How then are prosecutors supposed to take the one-two punch that is levying charges against the President and VP without failing to tactically prevent the Trump Administration from naming some kind of vomitous Trumpian acolyte as the new president?
Look no further than what the Nixon-Agnew story has told us. If Trump is dethroned first, Pence becomes President. Say goodbye to the 1st, 19th, 21st amendments, and yoga pants. If Pence is destepstooled first (“dethrone” seemed too strong a word), House Democrats have a reasonably successful chance of vying for a 21st century Gerald Ford who can take Pence’s place and then almost certainly take Trump’s. Prosecutors won’t want to take the same risk that the Agnew prosecutors didn’t want to take in giving a different criminal the presidency.
Democracy thrives in snarkiness