For the past twenty-two months, Mike Pence’s strategy has consisted of largely laying low, periodically popping up to kiss Donald Trump’s derrière, and hoping that the presidency will end up magically falling to him once Trump ends up being finished off. Now that Trump is circling the drain, Pence is theoretically closer to the Oval Office than ever – but he’s also in some real danger.
Here’s the thing. For reasons still only known to him, Kremlin puppet Paul Manafort bent over backward to get Donald Trump to pick Mike Pence to be his running mate. This made little strategic sense, as Pence had a very low approval rating as Governor of Indiana. If the goal was to simply pick an evangelical in order to get the extremist vote, there were more viable options. This has always raised the question of whether the Kremlin – when it was dictating all of Manafort’s other moves – also told him to have Trump pick Pence. More directly, was Pence a Russian asset?
Now that Manafort has flunked his cooperating plea deal, it’s hard to imagine that he gave up Mike Pence to Robert Mueller. That said, plenty of other people were around when Manafort picked Pence, and there’s a good chance Manafort’s longtime sidekick Rick Gates – who has since cut a cooperating plea deal – gave him up to Mueller. But then there’s the real ace in the hole.
We all saw Mike Pence go on national television and insist that Michael Flynn never had any transition period contact with the Russian Ambassador. Then we learned that Congressman Elijah Cummings had informed Pence of it, in writing, six weeks earlier. Why did Pence go out and lie to cover for Flynn? Considering that Flynn has cut a plea deal, Robert Mueller knows by now for sure.
So we’re not just dealing with the question of whether Donald Trump will be ousted, allowing Mike Pence to inherit the presidency. We’re also dealing with the question of whether Trump and Pence will both be ousted, if not simultaneously, then not all that far apart from each other. For Mike Pence, judgment day is coming – and it’s time for him to panic.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report