Pence Pleads Ignorance On Ukraine Scheme: I Was Only The Patsy
Vice President Mike Pence has acknowledged he played a role in President Donald Trump’s scheme to have Ukraine investigate one of his top political rivals, but it’s only because Pence was clueless about the plan, according to his aides.
The Washington Post reported that while Trump used Pence to inform Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that U.S. military aid was being withheld, the vice president’s aides say Pence was not in on the secret.
“Officials close to Pence insist that he was unaware of Trump’s efforts to press Zelensky for damaging information about [former Vice President Joe] Biden and his son,” The Post reported.
However, the vice president’s role in the plot to shakedown Ukraine for political dirt on Biden was considerably more involved, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait noted:
White House officials had him cancel a planned trip to Zelensky’s inauguration. One of Pence’s top advisers was on the July 25 call when Trump made clear his demand that Zelensky open investigations into various Democratic officials, including Biden, whom Trump named on the call. Pence was given the transcript of the call before his September 1 meeting with Zelensky, when he reiterated Trump’s threat.
Pence aides defended the vice president by claiming ignorance: He had not bothered to read the phone call transcript made available to him prior to his meeting with Ukraine’s president, they say.
But the matter is not so simple. One missed phone call could potentially explain away Pence’s failure to grasp the developing situation, but the vice president also would have had to miss every other red flag, as Chait points out.
Along with failing to “read or understand the vital background information he needed before this important national-security meeting,” Pence would have had to miss the growing alarm within the administration over Trump’s actions.
And Pence must have “somehow failed to pick up on Rudy Giuliani’s repeated public boasts — in the New York Times, on Fox News, on Twitter, and in any media he could find — that he was pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in his personal capacity as Trump’s lawyer.”
Further, the vice president must have taken Trump at his word, Chait says, about “being deeply concerned with corruption in Ukraine despite Trump’s record of greeting corruption in almost every other country he deals with with something ranging from indifference to enthusiasm.”
Chait concludes that Pence would have to be incredibly dumb to have missed all of these indicators that something was amiss with Trump and Ukraine.
If Pence is so ignorant that he could be pulled into an extortion plot without having any idea what he was doing, while missing numerous public and private signs that would have spelled it out, he is too dumb to serve as vice-president or even to be allowed to use metal cutlery. There is no way Pence is quite that stupid.
In short, Pence knew exactly what he was doing.