Pence declares himself ignorant as Russian investigation deepens


While the White House is answering questions about who knew former national security adviser Michael Flynn lying to the FBI, people close to Vice President Mike Pence try to clarify that President Donald Trump's No. 2 did not know anything at all. 19659002] He was in a homeless shelter in Indiana, dressed in an apron and delivering hot meals, last December when Egypt presented a UN resolution that attracted the advisor and son-in-law of Flynn and Trump, Jared Kushner, to the channel international return

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He was celebrating his son's wedding a week later when President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for his electoral meddling, unleashing a chain of events that would culminate with Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the The FBI about its contacts with Russian officials.

Pence's badistants have maintained for months that their man was off the track, happily ignorant of the contacts between the Trump campaign and Vario. foreign actors from the US UU., Russian Ambbadador in WikiLeaks.

His story has been consistent, even when he has been left out by observers wondering how Trump's running mate and transition head could have known so little.

"It is as remarkable as he is of the transition, as close as he was to the president, [that] at least, what has come out very little puts him in key places in key times," said William Jeffress, the lawyer who represented the chief of staff of Vice President Dick Cheney I Lewis "Scooter" Libby during the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation.

Pence's office declined to comment on this story.

Previous vice presidents have often rejected the idea that the person who is one heartbeat away from the Oval Office does not have much formal role in the management of the US government. UU But for Pence, who has badumed a broad portfolio, being an occasional outsider in Trump's White House helps him keep a distance from Russia's growing research.

Within Pence's circle, there have been efforts to frame Friday's accusation against Flynn as a vindication of the vice president.

Pence had initially defended Flynn during the transition, dismissing the idea that he would discuss the sanctions with the Russian ambbadador as false. When the content of those conversations was revealed later, Flynn was fired for tricking the vice president. Friday's revelation that Flynn lied to the FBI was seen in Pence's world as further evidence of the mendacity of the former national security adviser.

It was the last example of the Pence team that implemented a playbook that has kept the vice president clean until now. 19659016] The White House is represented. | AP Photo ” data-size=”promo_xsmall_rectangle”/>

After it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton, for example, Pence's team presented a blunt statement.

"I was not aware of the meeting," his then press secretary Marc Lotter said at the time. "He also does not focus on stories about the campaign, especially those belonging to the era before his entry into the campaign."

When the Atlantic reported in November that Trump Jr. had communicated with WikiLeaks in the fall of 2016, after Pence stated in an interview that the campaign had not been coordinated with the organization: Pence's office repeated that the companion that was presented at that time simply did not know what others were doing in the campaign.

"The vice president was never aware of anyone badociated with the campaign in contact with Wikileaks," Pence's press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said in a statement when the Atlantic story appeared. "He found out about this news for the first time in a report published tonight."

But Flynn's proposals to foreign governments were made in the midst of a transition led by Pence.

"Either he did not know and then there's why he did not know, or he knew and he's lying, none is sustainable for him," said Rick Tyler, a Republican strategist and former director of communications for the senatorial presidential nomination. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). "One speaks of lack of character and one speaks of lack of competition, none of which we want in a vice president or a future president."

But the strategy seems to have kept Pence out of the sights of Robert Mueller's research in Russia. Although he has hired an outside lawyer, he has not yet been interviewed by the investigators.

"Normally I would take one of these two things," Jeffress said. "Or you'd say they're working from the bottom up and they're going to interview the best people in the conclusion … Or you could say that Mueller does not really have much information about Pence's involvement that he needs to interview him about."

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