Vice President Mike Pence has been laying awfully low lately, trying to stay off the radar as much as possible. Some believe he’s trying to stay out of the way so he can quietly inherit the presidency once Donald Trump is finished off by his Russia scandal. Others believe Pence is worried that the Russia scandal will gobble him up as well. Michael Flynn just went a long way toward validating the latter, after officially cutting a plea deal this morning.
For reasons known only to him, Mike Pence has spent all year trying to cover up the Trump-Russia scandal by lying about what he’s known. Most notably, a letter from Congress informed Pence in December of 2016 that Michael Flynn was illegally on the take from foreign governments, yet Pence later went on to insist on national television that he had no knowledge of Flynn having done anything wrong. The trouble for Pence: Flynn just confessed to it all.
As part of his plea deal, Michael Flynn is pleading guilty to a single reduced charge of lying to the FBI about the phone calls he made to the Russian Ambassador on December 29th of 2016. Robert Mueller didn’t choose this lone charge at random. Flynn is now spilling his guts about everything and everyone, but most of that will have to remain private as Mueller uses it to bring additional indictments against other players. But Mueller is already advertising the fact that Flynn has admitted to having conspired against the United States with the Russian Ambassador in December. There’s a reason for this.
Actually, there are two reasons. The first is that, when combined with Donald Trump’s tweet from the following day, it confirms that Trump conspired with Russia against the United States with Russia. The second is that it confirms Flynn was conspiring with Russia back when Mike Pence was lying to protect Flynn. Here’s how Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe framed it: “Don’t forget Flynn may well have highly incriminating evidence about VPOTUS Mike Pence, who claimed that Flynn misled him about Kislyak. Perhaps Pence wasn’t as clueless as he claims. And we know a sitting VP can be indicted and convicted. Recall Agnew.”
The upshot is that Mike Pence is completely screwed. Even if he does last long enough to inherit the presidency once Donald Trump is ousted, his role in trying to cover up the Trump-Russia scandal will immediately become his scandal. At this rate it’s no longer even clear that Pence will get to inherit the presidency, as Mueller could take him down first.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report