Hang in there and follow along all the way through the following sequence of events to what the “Bottom line” tells us about that stalwart, pious, deeply religious Vice-President, Mike Pence.
7-16-16: This date marked the beginning and unsuccessful end of a coup d’etat in Turkey that was to depose Premier Recep Tayyap Erdogan. In the aftermath, Erdogan singled out a Muslim cleric named Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish ex-patriot living in exile in the US, as the instigator, and believed the US to be complicit in supporting him and his fellow conspirators. Erdogan demanded that our government under then-President Obama, extradite Gulen so that he could be tried for treason. Quite properly, Obama, citing a lack of evidence, refused.
Fall 2016: On a date yet to be uncovered, Erdogan’s Turkish government hired General Michael Flynn (US Army-retired) as a lobbyist, his compensation eventually equaling out to $530,000. It is critical to note that at this point in time, our presidential campaign was in full swing, and Flynn was an avid Trump supporter. On November 10th, Flynn published an op-ed that argued for the extradition of Gulen. This statement got wide circulation within the conservative media, a fact that can easily be documented by means of a simple Google search. It is also a telltale indicator of what Turkey perhaps hoped for when it paid Flynn over one-half million dollars.
Coincidental to the foregoing, Trump named Flynn as his advisor on national security. On November 18th, Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to VP candidate Pence, warning him that Flynn might be working for a foreign government (i.e. Turkey), something that should have sent off alarms in Pence head given Flynn’s aforementioned status as advisor on national security. This is yet another crucial bit of information given that once Trump had won the election, Pence was put in charge of assembling and vetting Trump’s transition team that would formally include Flynn as advisor on national security.
Late January 2017: Our Justice Department sent a letter to the White House for the purpose of sounding still another alert about the apparent Flynn-Turkey link.There is no evidence that anyone within the Trump team, especially Pence took notice. If they did, there was no evident follow-up.
February 2017: Now-President Trump fired Flynn, though the dismissal had nothing to do with Flynn’s still-covert relationship with Turkey. No, it was portrayed as having everything to do with the fact that Flynn had been in contact with Russian government officials, concealed that, and then lied in denying that involvement when speaking to Pence.
March 2017: Flynn finally got around to a post hoc filing with the Justice Department, of his employment as a lobbyist for the government of Turkey, something that he should have done many months’ earlier. Once this becomes known, Pence claimed that it was only through this, that he learned of Flynn’s foreign employment.
The bottom line: Pence’s assertion that he knew nothing of Flynn’s work for Turkey until said filing flies in the face of the letter he received from Rep. Cummings in November 2016, and the letter from Justice two months’ later. What is to be made of this? Here are our choices: As the leader of Trump’s transition team, Pence was responsible for vetting Flynn along with other nominees for various positions. That he failed badly at that task isn’t even arguable. The questions that is begged is why? Was Pence: (1) asleep at the wheel; (2) indifferent to the messages he received from Cummings and Justice; (3) willfully disregarding those messages; or (4) outright lying.
Sloppy? Incompetent? Deceitful? Whatever you pick, Pence fits right in; i.e. birds of a feather.