Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now pursuing Donald Trump’s various criminal activities from so many different ripe angles, it seems a matter of when – not if – Trump will become so thoroughly exposed that he’ll end up ousted from office. The presumption has been that Mike Pence assume office and, crippled by Trump’s scandals, play defense while finishing out the term. But Mueller’s latest move signals that he just might end up taking Pence down as well.
This all has to do with Michael Flynn. According to a New York Times report (link), Robert Mueller is now demanding that the White House turn over any documents it has in relation to Flynn’s employment as a foreign agent during the time that he was working for the Donald Trump campaign. Further, Mueller is now said to be investigating whether Flynn was taking secret kickbacks from foreign governments while working for the Trump campaign. This is a far more serious crime – legally defined as fraud – than simply being an unregistered paid foreign agent, which is essentially just a failure to file paperwork. The NYT article doesn’t even mention Mike Pence, but it should have, because he’s a crucial player in this.
A different NYT article back in April confirmed that Michael Flynn informed the Trump transition team that he was a paid foreign agent, and they hired him to be National Security Adviser anyway (link). Mike Pence was the head of the transition team, which means that he knew all about it. So when Pence went on television after inauguration and claimed Flynn was clean, he was knowingly lying.
Now that Robert Mueller is confirmed to be investigating Michael Flynn for having taken secret foreign kickbacks, the question becomes whether Mike Pence knew that Flynn’s crimes included the kickbacks. If so, then it means Pence may have committed obstruction of justice – a crime he might not survive. The Republicans would be loathe to impeach Pence no matter how guilty he may be. But if the Democrats take the majority in the midterms, they could then impeach Pence based on Mueller’s evidence against him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report