Up until this weekend, Mike Pence has largely been able to steer clear of Trump’s troubles with respect to Ukraine. Pence’s name has not come up in the hearings, and thus Pence and his team had the ability to play dumb, claim to be left out of the loop, whatever Pence might have needed to avoid answering difficult questions. But now with the testimony of Jennifer Williams over the weekend, Pence can no longer avail himself of any of it.
Put simply, Pence knew it all. He knew it all all along, perhaps knowing more about Trump’s Ukraine conspiracy than most in the administration. Not only did Pence know it all, unlike Bolton, Pence did nothing to voice any protest, nothing that we’ve heard yet, anyway.
Jennifer Williams changed the dynamic, she is on Mike Pence’s staff as an advisor for European and Russian affairs, on loan from the State Department:
“She’s not some low-level staffer,” she continued. “She’s also not an eager witness. No one even realized she was on the call until someone else on the call named her to house investigators, that’s why she was called to testify in the first place.”
Former White House official Joe Lockhart jumped int to say Pence had to know what William had heard during the call.
So far, no Democrat has proposed drafting articles of impeachment to include Pence. To be fair, so far, there hasn’t been sufficient evidence to include Pence in any accusation. But if Pence knew of the scheme, and played a role in carrying it out – such as putting the screws to Ukraine in Warsaw – then Democrats would have ample evidence to impeach Pence in the matter, too.
“I think the other thing about Jennifer Williams, and it’s not getting as much attention, is she does place Vice President Pence in an awkward position,” Lockhart suggested. “He either has to argue he doesn’t read his briefing book, doesn’t listen to his staff, or I was in on this. It’s one or the other. So far he’s escaped scrutiny here, but he was briefed on his way to Warsaw by her and apparently, it was in his briefing book”
No one is going to believe that Pence doesn’t read his briefing books or otherwise ignore what all happened. He knew, and everyone knows it.
The Democrats may be justified in impeaching Pence. However, including Pence in the articles of impeachment would do nothing more than guarantee that Trump survives, because the “party before country” Republicans are not going to put Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office under any circumstances.
However unlikely, it is possible that the Democrats bring forth such devastating evidence against Trump that Republicans believe it best to go forward with evangelical Mike Pence as the president and Republican candidate on the 2020 ticket, but there is no chance they will put Nancy Pelosi in office.
Nonetheless, it strengthens the Democrats’ case to prove that Trump has so corrupted the White House that everyone at a sufficiently high level knew of the “drug deal” that was the Ukraine conspiracy. It demonstrates the brazenness with which Trump operates. Trump corrupts not just the office, but all around him, since there is no way to stay on the job without becoming the ultimate “yes man.”
Pence also has to know that just as Trump can be charged upon leaving office, so, too, can Pence. Unlike Trump, who has always lived life right on the edge of criminality (similar to Roger Stone), Pence probably never envisioned a future whereby he would need to hire a criminal defense attorney and beg for deals in order to keep himself out of prison. Trump may be able to secure himself a nice little pardon from Pence if Trump were to step down, but with Williams’ testimony, Pence might be starting to wonder who is going to pardon him when January of 2021 rolls around.
All questions that will get sorted through in the next few months. For now, the news is that Pence is in this far deeper than he would like, and too deep for there to be an easy, obvious answer for him.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MiciakZoom