After Roger Stone decided to end his time as a free man by using his Instagram account to threaten the judge presently determining his future, it became clear to anyone with a basic understanding of the legal process that if your freedom depends on Roger Stone, your future is looking bleak, too.
That clearly includes anyone with the last name Trump. But recent reports suggest that Mike Pence has some explaining to do about his associations with similarly doomed Paul Manafort’s Super PAC. Not only is there the unreported $1 million that just came to light, but the fact that Pence met with the source of that mystery million bucks, L.A. developer Geoff Palmer, hours after notoriously leaving a Colts game in a huff in October 2017 due to the ongoing anthem protests. The White House claims that Trump and Pence agreed that Pence would storm off in counterprotest, indicating that Pence was happy to do Trump’s bidding during that time. It was reported that the meeting was about fundraising, but what else was discussed? And who else (possibly with subpoena powers) is asking that same question?
In the chaos of the Trump tempest, in which it seems the strategy is to throw a multitude of crimes and misdemeanors into the wind to overwhelm the media and populace, it’s easy to lose sight of the magnitude of individual misdeeds. Pence’s entanglement with Manafort’s PAC and Palmer’s mystery million, including the post-anthem protest “fundraising” trip to the developer’s house while that million was still being hidden, is huge and requires some sort of coherent explanation.
Of course, the overwhelming balance of crimes that are being investigated are on the Trump side with respect to Russia and the money laundering that greased the wheels of the 2016 election heist. What enables Trump to withstand the pressure that any normal president or person would have succumbed to long ago is a unique sociopathic narcissism that requires he absolutely commit to his ability to win in the face of all odds.
Pence is a milquetoast Midwestern character who, like any sane career politician, can only take so much heat. That’s one reason it’s so unrealistic that he would somehow take over the White House if Mueller’s investigation and/or Congress removes Trump, and ride gloriously into the sunset picking conservative judges along the way to a 2020 showdown with a Democratic competitor.
The vice president has too much explaining to do to get off the hook so easily, and there isn’t a much worse figure to be materially connected to in the eyes of the justice system than Paul Manafort. It’s more likely that the next president’s last name will be Pelosi than Pence if Trump goes down, unless Mike Pence can keep from melting under more light and heat than he’s ever known in an effort to explain away his ties to Manafort. Nothing in his profile suggests that’s likely.
Chuck is a former community reporter, columnist, and Army veteran