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Mike Pence Trump Flunky
Mike Pence is a Trump flunky, he along with many other republicans are making asses of themselves and their party to protect and appease Donald J. Trump.
By Nicole Gaouette and Kylie Atwood, CNNWashington (CNN) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's efforts to distance himself from the controversy surrounding Ukraine and its role in President Donald Trump's historic impeachment trial collapsed this weekend, days before he leaves for an awkward visit to Kiev after questioning whether Americans "care" about the country. Pompeo has had to grapple with damaging Ukraine-related headlines that raise questions about his temperament and flatly contradict his public claims about administration policy toward the country. Conservative allies have called him a "baby," senior diplomats have publicly chastised him and State Department staff -- pointing to the secretary's emphasis on respect and professionalism -- privately say they're "incensed" about what they see as his hypocrisy and embarrassed by his leadership.They're so accustomed to his angry eruptions that some have nicknamed him "Mount Mike." Pompeo is set to land in Kiev Thursday as the administration's Ukraine policy -- specifically Trump's push to exchange military aid and a White House visit for investigations into his political rivals -- occupies center stage in Washington, where the Senate impeachment trial continues. Pompeo's profanity laced explosion at an NPR reporter who asked about Ukraine set off shockwaves that continue to ripple and are likely to overshadow his visit to Ukraine, which was rescheduled from early January because of the situation in Iraq. He is also scheduled to travel to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) - In Iowa on Wednesday, CNN's Randi Kaye asked Vice President Mike Pence whether he stood by his strongly stated opposition to foreign governments involving themselves in US elections in light of President Donald Trump's pressure campaign against Ukraine to dig dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. Responded Pence: "Well I do, I think that's why President Trump is so concerned about foreign interference in our election in Ukraine. If you read the transcript, you will see that the President said to President Zelensky that our country had been through a lot, and then had a question about foreign interference in our 2016 election. I mean, to be honest with you when did you all lose interest in foreign interference in the 2016 election. President Trump wants to get to the truth. He wants to know what happened in 2016. And the American people have a right to know whether former vice president who was representing and leading the United States' interests in Ukraine was in any way impacted by the fact that his son was being paid $50,000 a month to be on the board of a major Ukrainian energy company." Wait, what? I have read the transcript of the call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Many times. And I know in it, Trump says this: "I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike... There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me." On the first "favor," Trump is talking about a totally debunked conspiracy theory that somehow the physical Democratic National Committee server is actually in the Ukraine. And that it contains, uh, secrets? Trump's second ask of Zelensky has zero to do with the 2016 election and everything to do with the 2020 election. Biden wasn't on the ticket in 2016 but he is one of the Democratic frontrunners in 2020 to take on Trump. more...
The vice president is supposed to be prepared to step into the nation’s highest office if necessary.By David Frum - Staff writer at The AtlanticIn the throes of Watergate, Vice President Spiro Agnew was caught up in an unrelated corruption scandal. He pleaded guilty and resigned his office on October 10, 1973. To that point, Agnew had served as a useful insurance policy for Richard Nixon, in the manner of the joke Charles II is sometimes reputed to have made to his even more unpopular brother when the latter warned him against plots. “Never fear James; they will not kill me to make thee king.” Agnew’s replacement—former House Minority Leader Gerald Ford—faced an agonizing personal dilemma. Republicans were monitoring him suspiciously for any sign of disloyalty to Nixon, any tendency to hasten impeachment forward to enter the presidency himself. Democrats monitored him suspiciously, too. Scandals had already consumed two Nixon attorneys general and many other high officials. Could Ford keep clean? Ford’s solution: He got out of town. Republicans were facing a tough election in November 1974, so Ford volunteered as their headliner of choice, their fundraiser in chief. As the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library notes, during the 10 months of his vice presidency “Ford represented the administration by making over 200 formal speeches and traveling approximately 110,000 miles.” Vice presidents traveled less comfortably in those days than they do now. In his candid memoir of traveling with Ford, the former Newsweek correspondent Thomas DeFrank vividly described the cramped small jets and propeller planes that typically served as “Air Force Two”—a phrase that began as a joke. Ford’s travels might have been controversial. In this moment of national crisis, a new vice president acting as such an eager partisan for a damaged party? But criticism was held back by the knowledge, shared by Democrats and Republicans alike, that America was going to need Ford. The country was going to need him to be clean, and the surest way to protect him was to keep him far from Washington. Ford’s intact reputation enabled Congress and the country to turn the page definitively in August 1974. Nixon’s most tainted appointees had been forced from office before him. When Nixon resigned at last, the government could reset and begin a new era. Donald Trump may not know much of this history, but he intuits its lessons. From the beginning, he has appeared determined to implicate as many members of his administration as possible in his scandal—Vice President Mike Pence heading the list. At a press conference at the United Nations on September 25, Trump delivered a warning message. “The word is, they’re going to ask for the first phone conversation. You can have it any time you need it. And also Mike Pence’s conversations, which were, I think, one or two of them. They were perfect. They were all perfect.” Indeed, Pence seems to have been involved up to the eyeballs in the Ukraine plot. His team’s messaging—Yes, he pressed the Ukrainians to investigate corruption, but he never appreciated that Trump’s true purpose was to pursue the Bidens—fails the laugh test. Pence’s taint presents a political problem for him, but raises a much graver question for the country. If the Senate ever could muster the integrity to remove Trump from office, there would be no Ford to put in his place, only a vice president who participated in Trump’s dirty schemes, from staying at a remote resort to direct government funds to Trump’s failing Irish golf course to extorting an invaded country to fabricate political dirt to help Trump’s reelection. Trump’s compromised attorney general remains on the job, as does his apparently compromised secretary of state. As the text messages from Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, confirm, the corruption permeates Trump’s second- and third-level appointments, too. Not only is this scandal worse than Watergate—the break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices did not betray the national-security interests of the United States—but the outlook for the country is worse, too. There is no easy exit from the scandal by removing the president. Nixon’s party broke with him after the release of the “smoking gun” tape in August 1974 removed any possibility of honest belief in Nixon’s innocence. Trump’s guilt has now passed that point—and Trump’s party protects him anyway. more...
Trump involved Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader, though officials say vice president was unaware of allegations in whistleblower complaintBy Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Ashley ParkerPresident Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Pence in efforts to exert pressure on the leader of Ukraine at a time when the president was using other channels to solicit information that he hoped would be damaging to a Democratic rival, current and former U.S. officials said. Trump instructed Pence not to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in May — an event White House officials had pushed to put on the vice president’s calendar — when Ukraine’s new leader was seeking recognition and support from Washington, the officials said. Months later, the president used Pence to tell Zelensky that U.S. aid was still being withheld while demanding more aggressive action on corruption, officials said. At that time — following Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelenksy — the Ukrainians probably understood action on corruption to include the investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Officials close to Pence insist that he was unaware of Trump’s efforts to press Zelensky for damaging information about Biden and his son, who had served on the board of an obscure Ukrainian gas company, when his father was overseeing U.S. policy on Ukraine. Pence’s activities occurred amid several indications of the president’s hidden agenda. Among them were the abrupt removal of the U.S. ambassador to Kiev; the visible efforts by the president’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to insert himself in the U.S.-Ukraine relationship; as well as alarms being raised inside the White House even before the emergence of an extraordinary whistleblower complaint about Trump’s conduct. Perhaps most significantly, one of Pence’s top advisers was on the July 25 call and the vice president should have had access to the transcript within hours, officials said. Trump’s deployment of Pence is part of a broader pattern of using both executive authority and high-ranking officials in his administration to advance his personal or political interests — even in cases when those subordinates appear not to know that another agenda is in play. Officials close to Pence contend that he traveled to Warsaw for a meeting with Zelensky on Sept. 1 probably without having read — or at least fully registered — the transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with the leader of Ukraine. White House officials said that Pence probably would have received the detailed notes of the president’s call in his briefing book on July 26. The five-page document also should have been part of the briefing materials he took with him to Warsaw to prepare for the meeting, according to the officials, who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. more...
Mike Pence Got Slammed by the Irish Press for Carrying Trump's Water: "How Mike Pence Shat on the New Carpet in Ireland’s Spare Room," Wrote One Irish ColumnistBy MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASHIreland is an enthusiastic member of the European Union. So it was not surprising that the country was generally displeased with Mike Pence’s recent controversial visit to the land of his ancestry. That is because Pence carried the water for Donald Trump and endorsed Boris Johnson’s unilateral withdrawal from Brexit. This did not go over well as Pence made his official remarks in front of the Taoiseach [Gaelic for president or prime minister]. According to columnist Miriam Lord of The Irish Times, in a September 3 column: No room left for doubt. As Pence read from the autocue and Irish eyes definitely stopped smiling, it was clear he was channeling His Master’s Voice. Trump is a fan of Brexit and of Boris…. He veered off his rather gushing statement [in praise of Ireland] following his meeting with the Taoiseach into some crunching Brexit remarks about our duty to do right by Boris Johnson and the UK. As the air in the steamy ballroom turned decidedly frosty, Pence urged Ireland and the European Union “to negotiate in good faith” with the new British prime minister. The local crowd raised eyebrows and wondered what he thinks the aforementioned EU has been doing for the last three years, if not negotiating in good faith with the UK. more...
By Martin Pengelly and agenciesVP leaves NFL game after about a dozen San Francisco players kneel. Trump confirms walkout was planned and says he is ‘proud’. Vice-President Mike Pence left the 49ers-Colts NFL game in Indianapolis on Sunday in a planned walkout, after about a dozen San Francisco players kneeled during the playing of the national anthem. Pence announced his departure from the Lucas Oil Stadium on Twitter. A White House statement followed, with a tweet from President Donald Trump which confirmed the walkout was not spontaneous. “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country,” Trump wrote. “I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.” Protests of the anthem by NFL players, almost all African American, began last year when the then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled in protest against racial injustice and police brutality. 49ers players have been prominent among those kneeling this season and could have been expected to kneel on Sunday. Nor was Pence scheduled to take in the whole game. Air Force Two was due to take off from Indianapolis international airport at 4pm on Sunday, in order for the vice-president to attend a political fundraiser in Los Angeles. The Colts-49ers game kicked off at 1pm ET and finished after 4.30pm, after going to overtime. At a rally in Alabama last month, Trump launched aggressive criticism of players and the NFL. Though Kaepernick had knelt to protest against unpunished police killings of African Americans, the president and the White House insisted that protesting during the anthem showed disrespect to the flag and to American troops, veterans and first responders. Senior administration figures including the treasury secretary, Stephen Mnuchin, and attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were deployed to say that in this instance, freedom of speech did not apply. In response, large numbers of players kneeled, teams coordinated actions and owners criticised Trump’s words. Though debate continued about the meaning of the protests, until Pence’s walkout the issue had seemed to be receding from public view. Players and some NFL writers think Kaepernick, who took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, has been blackballed by the league. On Sunday, CBS reported that he said he would not protest during the anthem if he ever returned. The reporter then retracted the story and Kaepernick tweeted a quote attributed to – but not coined by – Winston Churchill: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” more...
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