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Opinion Will Pence be Trump's scapegoat? (Opinion)

06:15  08 november  2019
06:15  08 november  2019 Source:   cnn.com

Donald Trump's White House braces for public impeachment hearings

  Donald Trump's White House braces for public impeachment hearings President Donald Trump and his allies are bracing for open hearings that will preoccupy Washington and bring to life the vivid picture of presidential behavior that until now has been confined to written statements and private testimony. © Win McNamee/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Vice President Mike Pence listen during a conference call with the International Space Station on October 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke with NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch as the pair became the first women to conduct an all female space walk outside the space station.

Michael D'Antonio writes that with Gordon Sondland' s congressional testimony confirming Mike Pence ' s role in the Ukraine scandal and the congressional testimony of Pence ' s aide, Jennifer Williams, this isn't going to end well for the vice president.

Why Trump will be able to scapegoat his way out of trouble. Trump thinks we might be headed for a civil war. And if the battles in Washington continue — even if there isn’t all-out “war,” as the term is usually defined — will that affect the election next year?

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Mike Pence wearing a suit and tie: US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony on September 30, 2019 at Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.© Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony on September 30, 2019 at Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

If Vice President Mike Pence is known for anything, it is loyalty to the President and operating serenely in the shadows. Now it seems that loyal service to the errant Donald Trump is forcing him into the harsh light of the Congressional probe into the President's alleged attempt at political extortion of Ukraine.

Pence adviser testifying in impeachment inquiry

  Pence adviser testifying in impeachment inquiry The aide to Vice President Pence is testifying behind closed doors.Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence since April, is testifying on Capitol Hill Thursday about her role in the Ukraine controversy fueling the House's impeachment inquiry.

Impeachment isn’t necessarily the door to a happy ending. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Donald Trump is working on recruiting prominent business leaders to his economic reopening team, but what is really happening is that the President is

If Trump needs to find a scapegoat to take the heat off himself in the Ukraine scandal, Pence is the perfect target. And, adding fuel to the fire, an upcoming book, written by a senior White House official, claims that White House aides felt Pence was ready to back Trump's removal via the 25th Amendment, a source with knowledge of the book confirmed to CNN. This amendment allows for an incapacitated president to be pushed out of office.

The book does not claim that Pence himself said he would support such a move. What's more, Pence has denied he would have considered invoking the amendment to remove Trump from the presidency, saying he "never heard any discussion" of the 25th Amendment during his time in the White House.

Was Trump call with Ukraine 'perfect'? GOP has many answers

  Was Trump call with Ukraine 'perfect'? GOP has many answers WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans have no unified argument in the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, in large part because they can't agree on how best to defend the president — or for some, if they should. That would require a level of consensus that Trump's call with the Ukraine president was "perfect," as he insists. Or it would take a measure of GOP independence from Trump to suggest there may be a need to investigate. Instead, it's everyThat would require a level of consensus that Trump's call with the Ukraine president was "perfect," as he insists. Or it would take a measure of GOP independence from Trump to suggest there may be a need to investigate.

OPINION | Pence sold his soul to be Trump ' s right hand; other possible GOP 2020 primary challengers have no such baggage.

To social conservatives who love Trump ’ s judicial nominees but perhaps not Trump himself, Pence does seem like a more appealing personal figure and role model. Certainly, I think a President Pence would be a far more effective leader of the GOP agenda than Trump .” But he went on, telling me

Now, surely both Trump and Pence will be waiting anxiously for the fallout after Jennifer Williams -- one of Pence's aides who was on Trump's controversial July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and was concerned about what she heard -- testifies before Congress on Thursday.

The irony is that Pence was going about business as usual when he got tangled in the Ukraine controversy. He was at a private meeting in Poland when he discussed the suspension of nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, in the name of fighting corruption, with Zelensky.

Given what we know now about Trump's July 25 call with the Ukrainian President, was Pence's meeting engineered to force a country at war with Russia and its proxies to announce that Trump's domestic rival, Joe Biden, was under investigation there? With soldiers dying in battle, the outmatched Ukrainians needed the aid. (Pence's team has said he was unaware of the allegations Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had made against Biden at the time of the meeting.)

Historic impeachment hearings are set to begin, with GOP and Democrats pushing dueling messages on Trump’s conduct

  Historic impeachment hearings are set to begin, with GOP and Democrats pushing dueling messages on Trump’s conduct The two parties signaled how they planned to present radically different interpretations of the president’s actions and whether they were impeachable. Democrats expressed confidence that Wednesday’s hearing would begin a serious and somber process of publicly exposing Trump’s misconduct, narrated by career diplomats who were alarmed by the president’s push to have Ukraine investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as a debunked theory concerning the 2016 election, in exchange for military aid and a White House visit coveted by Ukraine’s new leader.

Trump - Pence 2016. Donald Trump (politician, business person). Mike Pence is the Governor of Indiana, who is running as the Vice Presidential candidate along with Donald Trump . source: Forward.com.

Trump is immeasurably worse. Pence will do bad things. He’ll push ‘religious liberty’ laws. He’ll roll back protections for gay rights, abortion access and healthcare. Trump can be persuaded, whereas Pence will be more firm in his views, in my opinion .

Confirmation of Pence's role came Tuesday in sworn testimony provided by Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, to the House Committee on Intelligence.

Sondland now says "President Zelensky had raised the issue of the suspension of US aid to Ukraine directly with Vice President Pence."

This revelation from Sondland came in an addendum he filed weeks after appearing before members of Congress looking into the mess. The four-page supplement was informed by Sondland's reading of testimony offered by other witnesses. Those statements, he wrote, "have refreshed my recollection about certain conversations in early September 2019."

Pence has refused to provide Congress with any documents he possessed that related to Trump's July 25 quid pro quo conversation with Ukraine's President. Congress is interested because Pence was told about the talk the day after it happened, according to two sources, cited by CNN, who are familiar with the matter.

And then on September 1, Pence visited with Zelensky. The vice president's chief of staff, Marc Short, told CNN, "The vice president reported back to the President after the meeting and the aid was released."

Read George Kent Full Opening Statement at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry

  Read George Kent Full Opening Statement at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry The U.S. State Department official with decades of experience in Ukraine policy appeared Wednesday morning before the House Intelligence Committee. Both officials have expressed alarm in previous closed-door testimonies about Trump’s conduct with regards to Ukraine — highlighting allegations that he pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, and used his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to subvert normal diplomatic channels in this pursuit.

President Trump ’ s public comments are preemptive positioning to blame the Fed when the next recession comes. By Evan Kraft, opinion contributor — 12/18/18 03:00 PM EST. The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.

Donald’ s VP is his ace in the hole for 2020 – and Pence has already been unleashed! I say Donald Trump wins the 2020 election. And I’m betting you agree

More about Pence's role will likely emerge when Williams testifies in a closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence Committee. But we can assume this is not going to end well for the vice president. It's hard to work up much sympathy for him, however, since he surely knew what he was getting into when he accepted Trump's offer to be the No. 2 spot on the GOP's 2016 ticket.

On that sunny Hoosier morning when they sealed their bond, Trump's identity was well established. Profane, deceptive and almost allergic to telling the truth, Trump is a transactional creature who routinely operated on the basis of quid pro quo -- this for that. When it came to their partnership at the top of the GOP ticket, Trump's "this" was the chance he gave Pence to become the VP. Pence's "that" involved vouching from Trump's character and thereby delivering Christian right voters on Election Day.

But now, Trump could make a dramatic, diversionary move in an attempt to save himself, framing Pence as a liability. Sometime soon Trump could step into his reality TV role and declare, to Pence, "You're fired." He could then welcome a new vice president -- Nikki Haley, anyone? -- who could help him in the fight for re-election.

One of the many mysteries of the Trump era, and there are so many, is that Pence believed it was a good idea for him to be Donald Trump's No. 2 guy. When it comes to chaos and disorder, Trump is a kind of super planet with a gravitational power that draws every nearby object into orbit -- culminating in destruction of some sort. Consider all the cabinet members and White House officials who have fled to repair their reputations and you will start to understand this phenomenon.

Taylor testifies he was told Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine

  Taylor testifies he was told Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine William Taylor said U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told a member of his staff in July that President Trump cared more about an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden than he did about Ukraine. Taylor described the conversation relayed to him last week by a member of his staff during his opening remarks at the first hearing in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

At his worst, Trump will trash even those who have served him most fully. As secretary of defense, Gen. James Mattis was the most stable and effective figure on the Trump team. Now that he's gone, the President calls him "the world's most overrated general." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson became, in Trump's words, "dumb as a rock." His first attorney general was judged "a total disaster" by the President.

What fate now awaits Mike Pence if he's revealed to be inside the Ukraine scandal? Consider that he, and not Trump, sat face-to-face with Zelensky to allegedly discuss the quid pro quo. Now ask yourself: Is Pence crafty enough to speak in the kind of gangster code that allows for wiggle room if a damning truth comes out? I doubt he is very good at this kind of thing, which makes him the perfect scapegoat should Trump need someone to blame.

For Pence, who is already damaged by association, the possibility of being dropped from the 2020 ticket or, worse, being driven to resign, is not farfetched. Trump, an expert on the grand gesture and a dramatist of the first order, must already be imagining how he can use Pence this way.

Can't you imagine the President concocting such a dramatic move? Can't you hear him saying: "Mike is just not the man I thought he was. He took matters into his own hands and went too far. I hate to do it, but he's got to go."

Takeaways so far from House public impeachment hearings .
In several hours of testimony, and even bickering among lawmakers, some memorable moments have emerged. In several hours of testimony, and even bickering among lawmakers, some memorable moments have emerged.

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