Why would this information be withheld from him, particularly when he was the chief victim of Flynn’s deception? It can’t be that Trump’s inner circle is worried about Pence’s staff leaking, can it? If the leak situation is so desperate that the vice president can’t be trusted with information that might embarrass the White House, this administration’s already as good as sunk.
The boldface part is extra important here:
Vice President Mike Pence was informed of the Justice Department warning regarding former national security adviser Michael Flynn late on February 9, 15 days after the White House and the president knew, two sources tell NBC News.
One is a source close to Pence, while the other is inside the Trump administration…
While Pence seemed to be kept in the dark, Trump was first told about Flynn’s phone calls almost three weeks ago [on January 26th], a White House spokesman said Tuesday. The date the vice president knew is significant because it is when the administration became aware that the Washington Post was about to publish a heavily-sourced story that confirmed Flynn and the Russian ambassador discussed sanctions, despite public denials from Flynn and other incoming senior administration officials including Pence, then the vice president-elect.
Wouldn’t you know it, it was indeed on February 9th that WaPo published its big scoop about Flynn having talked sanctions with the Russian ambassador in December. Somewhere in Washington right now, Mike Pence is mulling that and wondering how much longer Trump and the inner circle would have kept him in the dark if not for the fact that WaPo was about to break the story open. Another month? A year? Would Trump have ever demanded Flynn’s resignation if not for the WaPo story? This is why, contra the president, the leaks aren’t the “real story” here. They’re an important story, but there’s every reason right now to believe that Pence would have gone on being misled about what Flynn knew and that Flynn would have kept his job despite the concerns about Russia blackmailing him if not for the fact that leakers broke this open.
I linked this Times report about Flynn having been interviewed by the FBI in late January in an earlier post — but they’ve since added a provocative detail that wasn’t there before:
While it is not clear what he said in his F.B.I. interview, investigators believed that Mr. Flynn was not entirely forthcoming, the officials said. That raises the stakes of what so far has been a political scandal that cost Mr. Flynn his job. If the authorities conclude that Mr. Flynn knowingly lied to the F.B.I., it could expose him to a felony charge. President Trump asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation Monday night.
Surely Flynn must have told Trump, Bannon, or whoever that the FBI had interviewed him. Knowing that, once Trump learned on January 26th that Flynn had been misleading people — like Pence — about what was said between him and the Russian ambassador, why didn’t he move to replace him as national security advisor immediately? Can you imagine how nuclear this scandal would have been if the FBI had charged Flynn with lying to investigators while he was still NSA? The moment Trump had reason to believe that Flynn had a credibility problem and that federal law enforcement was involved was probably the moment he and Flynn should have had a long, hard talk about a career in the private sector.
In lieu of an exit question, enjoy this eyebrow-raising quote from four-star Gen. Tony Thomas, the man in charge of the U.S. military’s Special Operations Command: “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war… As a commander, I’m concerned our government be as stable as possible.”