Pence Can’t Escape The Russia Investigation

The walls are starting to close in around Donald Trump under the weight of his compromising ties to Russia, but don’t forget this scandal envelops Mike Pence too.

“It’s time to talk about Mike Pence,” said American Bridge Rapid Response Director Emily Aden. “Pence was right there cheering on Wikileaks as they published emails stolen by the Russians to help their campaign win. And it was none other than Pence who led the transition team that ignored warnings about Michael Flynn and made him National Security Adviser anyway.”
“Pence is just as complicit in this scandal as every other Republican in Washington, and despite his best efforts to fly under the radar, he should expect the country to hold him accountable.”
Here is a timeline that dissects Vice President Mike Pence’s involvement in the Russia scandal every step of the way:

July 15, 2016: Trump Named Pence As His Vice Presidential Running Mate

Trump Named Pence As His Vice Presidential Running Mate. According to CNN, “Donald Trump said Friday Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his choice to be his running mate. ‘I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.,’ the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted. CNN reported Thursday that Trump had called Pence and offered him the vice presidential slot on his ticket. Pence has accepted.” [CNN, 7/15/16]

July 22, 2016: WikiLeaks Released Hacked Emails From The DNC

July 22, 2016: WikiLeaks Released Emails From The DNC. According to ABC News, “Just days before the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks has released emails from top DNC officials that appear to show the inner workings of the Democratic Party and what seems to be them attempting to aid the Hillary Clinton campaign during the primaries. Several of the emails released indicate that the officials, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, grew increasingly agitated with Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, and his campaign as the primary season advanced, in one instance even floating bringing up Sanders’ religion to try and minimize his support.” [ABC News, 7/22/16]

July 27, 2016: Pence Cast Doubt On Whether Russia Was Behind The DNC Hack.

Pence Cast Doubt On Whether Russia Was Behind The Hack. “So Governor Mike Pence just released a statement saying ‘the FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure that there are serious consequences’.” [Katy Tur, MSNBC, 7/27/16]

  • June 15, 2016: Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy admit Russia is behind the DNC hack in closed caucus meeting.  

October 7, 2016: Wikileaks Started Releasing John Podesta’s Hacked Emails

October 7, 2016: WikiLeaks Released John Podesta’s Hacked Emails. According to the Hill, “WikiLeaks on Friday afternoon published a database of 2,060 documents it claims are emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. According to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the emails — which are labeled as ‘Part I of the Podesta emails’ — focus on Podesta’s ‘communications relating to nuclear energy, and media handling over donations to the Clinton Foundation from mining and nuclear interests.’ Donald Trump and others have accused Clinton of tying the State Department’s 2010 approval of a gradual Russian takeover of the U.S. company Uranium One to $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. [The Hill, 10/7/17]

October 7, 2016: Pence Praised Wikileaks Release Of Hacked Emails

Pence: “WikiLeaks Released A Whole New Batch Of Emails Today For Your Weekend Enjoyment.” According to a transcript of Mike Pence’s speech in Rossford, Ohio, “PENCE: WikiLeaks released a whole new batch of emails today for your weekend enjoyment.” [Mike Pence Speech In Rossford, Ohio, 10/7/16]

October 15, 2016: Pence Praised Wikileaks Release Of Hacked Emails

Pence: “Thanks To Some Diligent Efforts By Third-Party Groups And Thanks To Lots Of WikiLeaks, We’ve Been Finding Out More And More Every Day.” According to a transcript of Mike Pence’s speech at the Republican Party of Florida dinner, “PENCE: Thanks to some diligent efforts by third-party groups and thanks to lots of WikiLeaks, we’ve been finding out more and more every day.” [Mike Pence Speech At Republican Party Of Florida Dinner, 10/15/16]

November 11, 2016: Pence Named Head Of The Transition

November 2016: Pence Took Over As Head Of The Trump Transition Effort. According to the New York Times, “Vice President-elect Mike Pence will take over as the leader of Donald J. Trump’s transition effort, pushing aside Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, as Mr. Trump moves quickly to assemble a government after his stunning upset victory, the transition team said on Friday. The reorganization puts the urgent task of selecting cabinet officials and key West Wing posts in the hands of Mr. Pence, whose loyalty to Mr. Trump and deep contacts with the Republican establishment on Capitol Hill are seen as critical to navigating the often politically treacherous transition period.” [New York Times, 11/11/16]

November 18, 2016: Pence Received Letter From Elijah Cummings Stating Flynn Lobbied For Turkish Interests

Elijah Cummings Sent Pence A Letter Requesting More Information About Potential Conflicts Of Interest Posted By Flynn’s Lobbying, Including Work For Turkish Interests. According to Business Insider, “But Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent Pence a letter on November 18 requesting more information about the potential conflicts of interest posed by Flynn’s lobbying work. Cummings sent the letter four days after both The Daily Caller and Politico reported that Flynn’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc., had been hired to lobby for Turkish interests. ‘Recent news reports have revealed that Lt. Gen. Flynn was receiving classified briefings during the presidential campaign while his consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, Inc., was being paid to lobby the U.S. Government on behalf of a foreign government’s interests,’ Cummings wrote. ‘Lt. Gen. Flynn’s General Counsel and Principal, Robert Kelley, confirmed that they were hired by a foreign company to lobby for Turkish interests, stating: ‘They want to keep posted on what we all want to be informed of: the present situation, the transition between President Obama and President-Elect Trump.’ When asked whether the firm had been hired because of Lt. Gen. Flynn’s close ties to President-elect Trump, Mr. Kelley responded, ‘I hope so.’’” [Business Insider, 3/10/17]

January 4, 2017: Flynn Told Transition Team He Was Under Investigation For Secretly Lobbying For Turkey During Campaign

Flynn Disclosed To Trump’s Transition Team That He Was Under Investigation For Secretly Working As A Paid Lobbyist For Turkey During The Campaign. According to the New York Times, “Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case. Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies. Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Mr. Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.” [New York Times, 5/17/17]

January 15, 2017: Mike Pence Said That Michael Flynn And The Russian Ambassador Did Not Discuss Sanctions

Mike Pence Said Michael Flynn And The Russian Ambassador “Did Not Discuss Anything Having To Do With The United States’ Decision To Expel Diplomats Or Impose Censure Against Russia.” According to Face The Nation, “MIKE PENCE: I talked to General Flynn about that conversation and actually was initiated on Christmas Day he had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place. It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia. JOHN DICKERSON: So did they ever have a conversation about sanctions ever on those days or any other day? MIKE PENCE: They did not have a discussion contemporaneous with U.S. actions on– JOHN DICKERSON: But what about after– MIKE PENCE: –my conversation with General Flynn. Well, look. General Flynn has been in touch with diplomatic leaders, security leaders in some 30 countries. That’s exactly what the incoming national security advisor–” [Face The Nation, 1/15/17]

  • Pence: “What I Can Confirm, Having Spoken To Him About It, Is That Those Conversations That Happened To Occur Around The Time That The United States Took Action To Expel Diplomats Had Nothing Whatsoever To Do With Those Sanctions.” According to Face The Nation, “JOHN DICKERSON: Absolutely. MIKE PENCE: –should do. But what I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions. JOHN DICKERSON: But that still leaves open the possibility that there might have been other conversations about the sanctions. MIKE PENCE: I don’t believe there were more conversations.” [Face The Nation, 1/15/17]

January 26, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Warned Trump Team Flynn “Could Be Blackmailed” By The Russians

January 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Warned The White House That Flynn “Could Be Blackmailed” Because He Lied About His Contacts With The Russian Ambassador. According to the Associated Press, “Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, speaking publicly for the first time about concerns she brought to the Trump White House on Russia, told Congress on Monday she warned that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn ‘essentially could be blackmailed’ because he apparently had lied to his bosses about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. The statements from Yates, an Obama administration holdover, offered by far the most detailed account of the chain of events that led to Flynn’s ouster from government in the first weeks of the Trump administration. Yates, appearing before a Senate panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, described discussions with Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn in late January in which she warned that Flynn apparently had misled the administration about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. […] ‘We knew that was not a good situation, which is why we wanted to let the White House know about it.’ The Jan. 26 conversation took place two days after the FBI interviewed Flynn about those contacts. McGahn asked Yates how Flynn did in the interview, but Yates said she could not answer.” [Associated Press, 5/8/17]

January 28, 2017: Pence And Flynn Sat In On Trump’s Phone Call With Putin

Pence Sat In On Trump’s Call With Putin. According to NPR, “The Kremlin has given a positive readout of the long-awaited phone call Saturday between President Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Putin’s overture to the United States to join forces in the fight against international terrorism was the main subject of the one-hour conversation, while thorny issues such as alleged Russian cyber-attacks on U.S. political parties or economic sanctions on Russia weren’t mentioned. Russian state television welcomed the change in tone between Washington and Moscow following open hostility in the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency. […] White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted a photo of Trump on the phone with Putin. He also spoke with other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In the picture, Trump is seen together with National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence and strategist Steve Bannon. Peskov said before the talk that Putin would be taking the call with Trump alone.” [NPR, 1/29/17]

February 5, 2017: Pence Said Trump Is Committed To Working With Putin And Russia

Pence Said Trump Is Committed To “Exploring The Ability To Work Together With Russia And With President Putin.” “Todd: I have to ask you to respond to something, an excerpt of the Superbowl interview the President is doing about Vladimir Putin, here it is. Moral equivalency? Is there a moral equivalency there? What was that Mr. Vice President? Pence: Not in the least. Not in the least. Look, President Trump has been willing to be critical of our country’s actions in the past, but what you’re hearing there is a determination by the president of the United States to not let semantics or the argument of the past get in the way of exploring the ability to work together with Russia and with President Putin and the days ahead, specifically if you played the rest of that interview. He said he didn’t know if we would be able to get along with him better, but the president’s top priority is to hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source and we have a common interest with Russia to do that.” [Mike Pence, Meet the Press, NBC, 2/5/17]

February 9, 2017: Pence Reportedly Found Out He Was Misled By Flynn, Stayed Silent

February 9, 2017: Pence Learned He Was Misled By Flynn, Weeks After Donald Trump Found Out. According to CNN, “The White House struggled Tuesday to answer an avalanche of questions over national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation. Flynn was asked to quit Monday after it became public that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he had discussed US sanctions during pre-inauguration phone calls with the Kremlin’s man in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. In new developments Tuesday, it emerged that President Donald Trump was told on January 26 — more than two weeks ago — that the Justice Department had concerns about Flynn’s conduct. Pence did not find out he had been misled until February 9, according to two administration officials. ‘It’s not that he was being left out. It was a legal review,’ one source said.” [CNN, 2/15/17]

February 20, 2017: Pence Called For Common Ground With Russia

Pence On Russia Relations: “We Search For New Common Ground.” “Be assured, the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable even as we search for new common ground, which President Trump firmly believes can be found.” [Mike Pence, Press Conference, NATO, 2/20/17]

March 9, 2017: Pence Said There Was No Evidence Of Collusion “Between Russian Officials And Our Campaign”

Pence On Russia Connections: “We’re Very Confident That The Bipartisan Congressional Committees…Will Arrive At The Right Conclusion.” “Baier: There are these reports about these connections, Constantine Kilimnik a Ukranian Russian with Paul Manafort who meets him and briefs him on Ukraine and apparently gets the plank out of the GOP platform. Are you concerned as some of these reports come out about connections with campaign officials? Pence: Well let me just say I think we’re very confident that the bipartisan congressional committees that are examining the information that’s been made available to them will arrive at the right conclusion and give the American people the facts. I think when the former director of National intelligence said just a week ago that in the report that he prepared by the end of the year there was no evidence of collusion between Russian officials and our campaign I think that speaks with great authority.” [Mike Pence, Interview, Fox News, 3/9/17]

March 9, 2017: Pence Said He Did Not Know About Flynn’s Foreign Lobbyist Despite Cummings’ Letter

Pence On Flynn Filing As A Foreign Agent: “Hearing The Story Today Was The First I Had Heard Of It.” According to a transcript of Special Report, “BAIER: The story today that former national security adviser Michael Flynn has filed with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent for making more than $500,000 as a lobbyist essentially for Turkey, your reaction to that considering that doesn’t that mean, Mr. Vice President, that even if he didn’t lied to you about the Russian ambassador said or didn’t said, that you would have to fire him anyway. PENCE: Well, let me say, hearing the story today was the first I had heard of it. And I fully support the decision that President Trump made to ask for General Flynn’s resignation.” [Transcript – Special Report, 3/9/17]

Pence: “It’s The First I Heard Of It, And I Think It Is An Affirmation Of The President’s Decision To Ask General Flynn To Resign.” According to a transcript of Special Report, “BAIER: You are disappointed by the story? PENCE: It’s the first I heard of it, and I think it is an affirmation of the president’s decision to ask General Flynn to resign.” [Transcript – Special Report, 3/9/17]

May 10, 2017: Pence Said That Firing Comey From The FBI Was Not Based On The Russia Investigation

Pence Says That Removing James Comey From The FBI Was Not Based On Russia Investigation Q: What about the President’s dissatisfaction with the Russia probe? Did that play into this sir? Pence: Let me be very clear that the President’s decision to accept the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General and the Attorney General to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interest of the American people and to ensure that the FBI has the trust and confidence of the people of this nation.” [Mike Pence, Press Gaggle, MSNBC, 5/10/17]

May 18, 2017: Pence Repeated Lie He Did Not Know About Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying Until March

Pence Stood By His Claim That He Learned About Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying Through The Media, Even Though Flynn Informed The Transition Team In January That He Was Under Investigation. According to Politico, “Vice President Mike Pence is standing by his March claim that he learned about Michael Flynn’s Turkish lobbying work through the media, even as a new report indicates Flynn informed the transition team in January that he was under federal investigation for not properly disclosing the paid work. Pence, who ran President Donald Trump’s transition operation, had told Fox News on March 9 that ‘hearing that story today was the first I heard of it.’ He repeated the claim about Flynn’s ties to Turkey later in the interview, and said the revelation affirmed Trump’s decision to fire the national security adviser. ‘The Vice President stands by his comments in March upon first hearing the news regarding General Flynn’s ties to Turkey and fully supports the President’s decision to ask for General Flynn’s resignation,’ Pence’s office said in a statement to POLITICO on Thursday.” [Politico, 5/18/17]