Russia probe tests Pence in-the-dark defense

CNN reports: New revelations about Michael Flynn’s lies to the FBI are laying bare Vice President Mike Pence’s in-the-dark strategy when it comes to Russia’s election meddling, raising new questions about whether he could have been left in the dark as he has argued for nearly a year.

Advisers have long insisted that Pence was unaware Flynn spoke to then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak about a new set of US sanctions on the day they were announced last December.

But court filings unsealed last week, paired with new details about President Donald Trump’s own knowledge of events, indicate a wide circle of advisers were aware that Flynn raised the issue when he spoke by phone to Moscow’s envoy — even as Pence reportedly remained in the dark.

The new questions raised by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation signal what could be a pivotal moment in Pence’s careful calibration of trying to keep a safe distance from the Russia probe even while maintaining his credibility for being left out of the loop by the West Wing.

Pence — who was in charge of Trump’s transition — knew Flynn had contacted Russia, but was left unaware of the sanctions discussion, according to transition officials. It’s led to anxiety within Pence’s circle that he’ll eventually be called to sit for an interview with Mueller. [Continue reading…]

If Pence has to choose between lying to Mueller or betraying Trump, that’ll be the day Pence’s unwavering loyalty evaporates.

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