Following Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation, it has come to light that Vice President Mike Pence delivered information in interviews based upon Flynn’s statements for weeks.
Since then, that information has been found to be a lie and intelligence officials have revealed that Gen. Flynn discussed American sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before President Trump took the White House.
According to the Washington Post, no one apparently sought to notify Mike Pence that he had been, not only mislead for several weeks, but perpetuating false information for that time as a result, even though the intelligence community and some members of the administration had the intel to know as much. Even more telling is the fact that Pence only heard the news when Washington Post actually broke the story that Flynn had lied about his interactions with the Russian Ambassador.
This has lead many to speculate about the state of the relationship between the President and Vice President. Aides to both men insist that the two of them speak on the phone or in person multiple times each day.
However, some of those that are close to Pence have claimed that he was “blindsided” and “frustrated” by the misleading information he was given. He reportedly urged Flynn to issue a public apology rather than resign. After Pence spoke with Flynn, chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Don McGahn decided to speak with Flynn, then Mr. Pence decided he should go. As the Post reports, both Pence and Priebus were upset by the conversation and “expressed dismay both with Flynn’s answers and the dawning reality that Flynn had deceived Pence.”
Editor of the conservative Weekly Standard William Kristol said of the situation that,
“Pence is trying to play a long game, keeping his head down and keeping his powder dry, assuming some of the more flamboyant types will blow up or blow out and he will be there as a trusted counselor a year or so from now… the long game can mislead you. If you end up keeping your powder dry and never using it, you end up being just another guy in the White House.”
However, as one Republican told the Washington Post, “It’s another example of him not being totally in the loop.”