Trump used Mike Pence to push his Ukraine scheme — but the VP's aides claim he was totally in the dark: report
The Washington Post is reporting that Donald Trump repeatedly used Vice President Mike Pence to pressure Ukraine’s leadership, but Pence's aides maintain that Pence was an unwitting accomplice to Trump's desire to spur an investigation into political rival Joe Biden.
Unwitting or not, Pence played a consistent role in Trump's pressure campaign. Pence was reportedly instructed by Trump to skip the inauguration of incoming President Volodymyr Zelensky in May after White House officials had added it Pence's schedule. Following the now-infamous July 25 call, Pence also informed Zelensky at Trump's behest that military aid was being withheld from Ukraine until the country got tougher on corruption. Reportedly, the Ukrainians simply "understood" what that meant: They had better investigate the Bidens, or else.
But Pence would have to have been functioning in a fog of ignorance not to know that something improper was happening. For instance, May was also the month when the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was recalled by Trump, and that reports revealed Rudy Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to push an inquiry into the Bidens. And then there's this nugget:
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. [...] 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.
Um, Pence wasn't apprised of the July 25 conversation by his aide who was also his national security adviser? Then Pence didn't read the transcript related to the leader of a country with whom he was conducting diplomacy? And finally, before he traveled to Poland to meet with Zelensky in early September, Pence never read about the call as part of his briefing materials?
The White House Counsel’s Office did not alert the vice president’s office to the existence of the whistleblower complaint until the day before it became public, the aide added.
So the White House counsel knew about it, Trump aides were abuzz with concern, the Department of Justice was providing legal opinions on it, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened in, but Pence? Yeah, he was just the inanimate elf on the shelf who missed everything.
Anyway, Pence was a big part of Trump's scheme, but somehow his aides are claiming he had no idea such a scheme even existed.
You can read the entire report here. Sounds worthy of some congressional follow up.