Start With Pence…

There is a lot of talk about impeaching Donald Trump, especially since Tuesday, when his former lawyer and former campaign chairman became felons. Granted, Manafort was not convicted for anything related to Trump, but he goes on trial again in a couple weeks, and it’s not looking good. If Democrats can take back the House in just over two months, impeachment is a foregone conclusion. If they can take back the Senate, as well, they may only have to get a dozen or so Republican Senators to help convict, which may be doable, once they see the list of offenses and the evidence backing each one.

It’s possible Trump will be indicted as 2019 begins, but there is a lot of controversy over whether or not that can fly. But it doesn’t matter, really. If we can impeach and remove him, then the indictments can flow, and there will be no question.

However, before we impeach Trump, there is another order of business we should take care of first…

We have to get rid of Mike Pence.

Think about it. If we manage to get rid of Trump, we still have to deal with Pence. On the one hand, Pence is quite possibly more sane than Lord Donny, but that aspect of who Pence is may make him more dangerous. He has more finely honed political skills and he is a “true believer,” meaning he will do whatever the religious right tells him to do, without question or pause.

With Pence, we could get rid of him via impeachment, but we could also see indictments. There is no question a Vice President can be charged and convicted of a crime; we already have a precedent in Republican Spiro Agnew, who was forced to resign after accepting a plea bargain for “tax evasion,” even though his actual crimes included getting kickbacks on Baltimore County and Maryland state contracts all through his political career, including while he was VP. He wasn’t indicted, exactly, but when he tried to claim he couldn’t be, his contention was opposed by almost everyone.

While Mike Pence and his staunchest Republican supporters in Washington would love for you to believe he’s not involved in any of Trump’s shenanigans, the truth is far different.

For one thing, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has already pleaded guilty to crimes, in part based on his failure to inform Pence of his contacts in Russia. The thing is, Flynn supposedly lied about his discussions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, claiming he and the ambassador never discussed lifting sanctions. Pence repeated that same lie to the press. Did he also lie to investigators? The claim was that Flynn had lied to Pence and that affront meant Flynn simply has to be fired.

Speaking of Flynn, the former General was also paid $500,000 to lobby on behalf of Turkey while simultaneously advising the Trump campaign. He failed to register as a foreign agent, and did so retroactively during the transition. Flynn informed the Trump transition legal team of this, but to this day, Pence claims no one told him, even though he was in charge of the transition. In a congressional hearing before the Oversight Committee in March 2017, Pence claimed he had just found out about the problem with Flynn, even though the ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, sent Pence a letter back on Nov. 18, 2016, in which he went into considerable detail about Flynn’s Turkish connection.

Since it was Pence’s job to vet the nominee for the position of national security adviser, the fact that he chose one who had disturbing ties to a foreign government because “he didn’t know” about things he was apparently told fails to pass a sniff test.

Then, there is Pence’s lies about the James Comey firing. Right after Trump fired Comey via Tweet, because he has no actual balls, Pence appeared before the press and claimed Trump’s decision to fire Comey came about because the Justice Department (more specifically, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein) recommended it. According to Pence:

“The President took strong and decisive leadership here to put the safety and the security of the American people first by accepting the recommendation of the deputy attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI.”

The truth is, Trump has always intended to fire Comey. We know this because Trump himself admitted it during his infamous interview with Lester Holt. Later, Rosenstein confirmed it to a Senate hearing, when he testified that he was instructed to write the memo after being told Comey would be fired. So, Pence was in on the Comey firing, which Trump has admitted was because of the Russia investigation, and he lied about it.

There are also questions surrounding Pence’s choice as Trump’s running mate in the first place, given that he was championed by Paul Manafort, who was just found guilty of eight felonies and only missed being convicted on 10 more when a MAGAt juror decided to throw a monkey wrench in the works. Trump, who had never even met Pence before he was chosen, was unsure, but it was convicted felon Manafort who assured Donny the choice was a good one. (Source) There is not doubt whatsoever that Manafort placed Pence in the Vice President’s office, regardless of Donny’s pleas that Manafort played a “limited role” in his campaign. That choice makes Manafort a critical player on the Trump campaign, and connects Pence directly to a convicted felon.

It’s not like Pence was highly qualified for the job. In fact, one of the main reasons he put himself in the running for Vice President was because he was facing a very difficult reelection bid for governor of Indiana. He was getting a lot of heat for his leadership in passing the state’s so-called “religious freedom law,” which was opposed by most people in the state, and the polls were suggesting Indiana wanted a new governor in 2016. Now, a few years later, he is next in line to replace the least popular president in history and the first one in 44 years who will likely face impeachment. Worst of all, Pence is loathe to go against Trump on anything, regardless of how illegal or unconstitutional his actions may seem. According to some, Pence believes in a concept called “servant leadership,” which means he will always obey those in higher positions and never buck the leadership.

The thing is, this subservient attitude comes at a price; not to Pence, but the country. According to reports, Pence spends hours with Donny every day, when he isn’t flitting around the country pushing Trump’s stupid idea like the obedient lapdog he is. Whereas Joe Biden reinvented the vice presidency in a positive way, as a partner to President Obama, Pence has reverted the position to the “bucket of warm piss” model that most other vice presidents in the past lamented.

Is that impeachable? Why not? Pence is next in line for the presidency; it is beyond the pale to vet Pence for his leadership ability, as well as his various problems, like the fact that, as governor of Indiana, Pence used a private email server, and was hacked at least once?

Yes, that’s right. As part of the Trump campaign and its barrage of attacks on Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, Mike Pence himself used a private email account to conduct public business. If Donny and the Republicans in Congress can continue to hold hearings on Hillary’s use of email, why not look into Pence, who used his personal AOL account to communicate with top advisors about issues having to do with state security and individual constituents’ personal issues. Also at issue is that Pence’s email was hacked in 2015, according to the Indianapolis Star. (Source)

After all, if Pence can demand that Attorney General Loretta Lynch bring charges against Hillary Clinton for her email use, which was never hacked, shouldn’t that be grounds for impeachment of Mike Pence?

There are other worrisome things about Pence, including Pence’s Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, who once served as a top campaign advisor to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. According to a Missouri Ethics Commission filing, Grietens’ campaign is still paying Ayers’ consulting firm, C5 Consulting, for services rendered by the campaign. While Ayers stepped away from that firm to work for Pence, even the Trump regime is concerned enough to question Missouri officials. Grietens has already been indicted on felony charges for computer tampering. How closely did Pence vet this guy? Was this another example of his vetting prowess, along the lines of Michael Flynn?

The question is, what would be the point to replacing a thoroughly incompetent president with an equally incompetent Vice President? Since that is not something anyone really wants, let’s do the Pence impeachment first. Besides, this could have the added benefit of getting Donny to think he’s off the hook. That would be fun…

Also published on Medium.

About Milt Shook

A writer with more than 45 years in the political game (and let's face it, it is a game). I am a liberal because facts have a liberal bias, and I really like facts. If you like facts, you'll like this blog. If not, you'll have a hard time.

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