Tag Archives: Mike Pence

Why such anger, Mr. Vice President?

Why, oh why is Vice President Mike Pence so darn angry at The New York Times?

The allegedly “failing” newspaper has published a story revealing that Pence’s political team is working behind the scenes to mount a presidential campaign in 2020. Pence is simply outraged, I tell you. Outraged that the Times would report such a thing.

Pence is like all the other men who have preceded him in the second-highest office in the land. They all want to be the Top Dog, the Big Man, Numero Uno. Is Pence so different? I doubt it. Seriously.

To be sure, the NY Times said Pence is planning a primary campaign against Donald J. Trump Sr. His plans presume that the president won’t seek re-election, or that he will be otherwise, um, unavailable to run for a second term.

What might prevent Trump from running in 2020? Let’s see:

* He could be impeached and tossed out of office over allegations that he obstructed justice in the Russia investigation or that his campaign colluded with the Russians. There might be some financial issues that arise from special counsel Robert Mueller’s expanding investigation. Will it happen? I ain’t projecting such a thing. Or … the president might resign.

* The incessant armchair psychoanalysis might determine that the president suffers from some sort of serious personality disorder that compels him to tweet so often and with so much damaging effectiveness. I won’t join that debate, either.

* Trump might figure he cannot stand the incessant failure to get anything done. He’s not used to working with those who resist him at every turn. Trump’s business background has placed him at the top of the ladder. He’s got to share that standing now with Congress and the courts.

* Or, maybe the president can just declare victory — say “mission accomplished” — and pack it all up and head back to Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster or some other posh digs that will remove him and his family from that “real dump” where they live part time in Washington, D.C.

Is it so wrong to believe the vice president is getting ready for any eventuality? Is it wrong to presume that the No. 2 guy wants to ascend to the No. 1 spot?

The media have done a great job of keeping the public informed about the goings-on related to the Trump administration. The New York Times has just racked up another scoop.

Pipe down, Mr. Vice President.

Texas playing ball with vote fraud panel … sort of

I was hoping the Texas secretary of state would follow the lead of his fellow Republican colleague in Mississippi and tell the feds to go “jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

He didn’t. Instead, the state is going to hand over some voter records to that idiotic voter fraud commission named by Donald J. Trump to root out the hordes of illegal votes — he says — that were cast in the 2016 presidential election.

Good luck with that.

The panel led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is called the Election Integrity Commission. The president has asserted — with zero evidence at hand — that “millions of illegal immigrants” voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, giving her the popular vote margin over Trump.

So he cobbled together this group to find a problem in search of a solution.

The Texas secretary of state is the state’s top elections officer. According to the Texas Tribune: “Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said he plans to respond to the request, but it’s not entirely clear how much data he’ll be handing over. Pablos said his agency would treat Kobach’s letter like any other public information request, and would only hand over information that’s considered public under Texas law.

“’The Secretary of State’s office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state’s elections system,’ Pablos said in a statement. ‘As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law.’”

Social Security numbers are private and as I understand it, that’s about the extentof the information Pablos’s office will withhold from this commission.

Check out the Texas Tribune explanation here.

The voter fraud panel’s request has been met with considerable resistance around the country. Officials in states that voted for Trump have said “no” to requests, as have those in states that voted for Clinton.

Honestly, this semi-acquiescence from Rolando Pablos makes me a bit nervous … and I’m a U.S. citizen.

I also wonder about something. Why is the president so damn intent on looking for widespread voter fraud that few local officials believe exist while he continues to ignore the assertion by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in our electoral process?

Voter fraud probe runs into trouble … good deal!

States across the nation aren’t playing ball with a task force created to find a problem that likely doesn’t exist.

To which I say, “Good for them.”

Donald J. Trump alleged — without foundation — that voter fraud was rampant across the land during the 2016 presidential election. You’ll recall that he said “millions of illegal immigrants” voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton, thus giving her a substantial popular vote margin over the president. This has been one of the countless lies that the president has told since he launched his political career in the summer of 2015.

So, he sought the formation of a task force to get to the root of the problem. States, though, aren’t giving in to this — if you’ll allow me to use this term — witch hunt in search of problem.

The White House commission led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach have asked all the states and the District of Columbia to turn over records of voters, including birth dates, the last four Social Security digits and party affiliation. Roughly half the states have said “no.” Even Texas, as friendly toward Trump as any state, has agreed only to turn over certain publicly held information; Social Security information and dates of birth won’t be turned over.

A good number of states refusing to comply, incidentally, happen to states that Trump won. So this isn’t a strictly partisan boycott of this ridiculous notion. As The Hill reported: “In the event I were to receive correspondence from the Commission … My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from,” Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said in a Friday statement.

The voter fraud commission is trying to reel in a red herring. Indeed, Kris Kobach is known to be something of a conspiracy theorist who believes voter fraud has reached epidemic proportions in his state and across the land.

Independent studies have revealed only minuscule numbers of people voting illegally, certainly not in numbers sufficient to decide electoral outcomes nationally.

I’m sensing a showdown is on the horizon. I’m going to pull for the states to stand their ground. As Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes, a Democrat, has noted, the commission was formulated on a “sham premise.”

Top lawyer ‘lawyers up’; more to come, maybe?

If you’re keeping score, it’s good to know how many of Donald J. Trump’s key administration staffers have hired lawyers to represent them.

You have the president’s son-in-law and senior public policy adviser, Jared Kushner seeking outside counsel; Vice President Mike Pence has hired a lawyer to represent him and might be able to use campaign funds to pay for the counselor’s advice; today we got word that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has joined the lawyering-up club.

And oh yes, the president himself has hired a team of lawyers.

Why all this legal eagle activity? You know the reason, but I’ll mention it anyway. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign worked in cahoots with Russian hackers, who tried to influence the 2016 election outcome.

Of all the people mentioned here, I find Sessions’ decision to be most interesting. He’s the nation’s top lawyer. He runs the Department of Justice. He also has recused himself from anything to do with the Russia investigation.

Throughout all of this Russia investigation, we hear the president toss out terms like “witch hunt” and “fake news.” He doesn’t condemn the notion that Russian government goons might have sought to influence the election.

The special counsel has a lot of information to sift through. The former FBI director, James Comey, told Senate committee members that the president pressured him to back off a probe into the Russia matter. The president launches into those tweet tirades that seem to undermine his own message, not to mention his legal defense against whatever might be tossed at him.

We’re a long way from knowing the truth behind all of this.

The high-priced legal community is riding a serious gravy train, thanks to the concerns being expressed by the president of the United States and some among his senior team members.

POTUS keeps ’em hopping at White House

It’s tempting to feel a bit of sympathy for the White House media machine, and for the vice president, and for the senior West Wing advisers.

Why? They are working for someone who doesn’t have a clue on how to “control a message,” or even how to conduct the business of being president of the United States.

Donald J. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Mike Pence, the vice president, said he acted on the advice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein. But wait! Trump then said he decided before consulting with Sessions and Rosenstein to fire Comey.

Pence also said that the FBI probe into the Russia hacking matter had “nothing to do” with Trump’s decision to fire Comey. Then, what do you know? The president contradicted the VP directly by saying, yep, Comey was spending too much time on the “Russia thing.”

White House press flack Sean Spicer has been keeping a low profile since the stuff hit the fan. Deputy flack Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been back-filling like crazy, trying to provide some semblance of sense to the chaos that has enveloped the Trump administration. She’s not succeeding, though.

In the midst of all this the president is tweeting himself silly with threats to Comey about possible recordings of conversations. He’s continued his attack on the media, threatening to suspend the daily press briefings.

And the media haven’t yet asked him directly about whether he committed a conflict of interest violation by asking Comey directly if the FBI was investigating the president. Trump had the power all along to fire the FBI boss and he shouldn’t have even thought about meddling directly in an ongoing investigation. Holy cow, man!

It’s tempting, yes, to feel sympathy for the president’s senior staff.

I’m managing to resist falling for it, though. They all ought to have known what they were getting into when they signed on.

Russia probe caused Comey to lose his job … period!

Donald J. Trump can insist all he wants that his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey had nothing to do with Russia.

Mike Pence can echo the president as well, that the Russia probe played no role in Comey’s sudden and shocking dismissal.

I do not believe either man. Not for a nanosecond.

Call it purely circumstantial, but the evidence seems to be mounting that Comey’s departure as FBI boss had everything to do with the Russia investigation he was leading and nothing to do with the FBI director’s handling of the 11th-hour dump on Hillary Clinton regarding some e-mail messages that turned up late in the 2016 presidential campaign.

As the New York Times editorialized: “The explanation for this shocking move — that Mr. Comey’s bungling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server violated longstanding Justice Department policy and profoundly damaged public trust in the agency — is impossible to take at face value.”

As the Times continued: Mr. Trump had nothing but praise for Mr. Comey when, in the final days of the presidential campaign, he informed Congress that the bureau was reopening the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails. ‘He brought back his reputation,’ Mr. Trump said at the time. ‘It took a lot of guts.’”

Here’s the complete editorial

The media are reporting that Comey asked just days earlier for more money and staff help to ratchet up his investigation into allegations that the Trump campaign cooperated with Russian government operatives seeking to interfere with the 2016 election.

Then he gets canned? Just like that? Trump and Pence want us to believe the Russia probe played no part in this matter?

They are insulting the intelligence of Americans.

I am picking up the whiff of a cover-up.

Where in the world is Sean Spicer?

This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.

The president of the United States makes — without question — the most controversial personnel decision of his administration and the White House press secretary is AWOL at the daily briefing for reporters. He’s supposed to “brief” the media on what’s happening in the White House.

Sean Spicer is nowhere to be seen or heard. Instead, he sends out his No. 2 press flack, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to tell the media that it’s time to “move on” after Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. He acted without warning. The dismissal surprised the FBI staff and reportedly the White House staff, too!

Why did the president axe the FBI boss? “He wasn’t doing a good job,” said the president. Well, that explains everything, right? Wrong!

The firestorm has erupted in the White House. Spicer reportedly is off doing Navy Reserve duty. Oh, but wait! The Navy says he can reschedule these duties when, um, other duties call — in this case duties involving the commander in chief.

Spicer ought to get back in a hurry

Sean Spicer is getting paid the big bucks to talk to the media. And, no, I don’t mean lecture them about how they’re doing their job and whether they’re telling the president’s story the way he wants it told.

The Comey firing is all over the newspapers and all over TV these days. The former FBI head man was pursuing an investigation involving the Trump presidential campaign and allegations that it might have colluded with Russian government officials/goons to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Except that Vice President Pence says the president’s decision to can Comey had nothing at all to do with the FBI’s probe into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election.

Do I believe that? Let me think. Umm. No!

The White House’s main press guy needs to speak to the media. He needs to be forthright. He needs to answer direct questions … well, directly.

Will the ‘system’ swallow POTUS whole?

This fantasy keeps ricocheting around my noggin. Here’s how it goes.

Donald J. Trump sold himself as a no-nonsense, kick-butt business mogul who brooked no foolishness from anyone. Then he got elected president and learned that “I alone” cannot repair what he said is wrong with the country.

He set out to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act and then ran smack into the buzzsaw otherwise known as the House Freedom Caucus, whose members hate the cooked-up alternative to the ACA. Democrats hate it, too, as much as they hate the president.

If the ACA repeal fails today, does that signal the start of a string of failures for a man who told us over and over that he never seemed to fail at anything?

What, then, happens when he cannot enact tax reform, or get the wall built on our southern border, or institute an infrastructure rebuilding program?

What happens if he can’t “destroy ISIS” all by himself? What happens if he keeps getting stern resistance from those on the far right — who don’t trust him anyway — as well as those on the left who are still steamed that he got elected president in the first place?

My fantasy is that Trump might decide the fight ain’t worth it. He’ll call Vice President Pence into the Oval Office and tell the veep, “Mike, take it away. It’s all  yours, my man. I’m going to take Melania and Barron back to New York and we can vacation to our hearts’ content at Mar-a-Lago and no one will give a crap about how much it costs. Besides, this house in D.C. isn’t nearly as nice as my digs in Florida. I’m outta here.”

Yes, that’s why I call it a fantasy. However, one never knows.

VP used his private e-mail server? Why, I never …

Do you mean to say that Vice President Mike Pence, when he was governor of Indiana, used his private e-mail account to conduct public business?

Moreover, do you assert that then-Gov. Pence’s private server was hacked and that some sensitive material might have gotten out, possibly into the wrong hands?

OK. Where are the calls to “Lock him up!” Do you hear them? Neither do I. Nor do I expect to hear them.

Still, this is pretty serious stuff. If it was serious enough for those on the right to chant “Lock her up!” when it involved Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of state, then does the former governor of one of our 50 states deserve to be roughed up in such a manner?

The Indianapolis Star first reported it.

Pence’s office said other Indiana governors had used their private servers as well. I guess that means it was OK for Pence to do it. Indiana law doesn’t prohibit such an occurrence. For that matter, there’s no federal law that prohibits secretaries of state from doing so, either. Indeed, Clinton said previous secretaries had used personal e-mail accounts.

I do not yet know to what extent the Indiana governor’s office produces material that would jeopardize national security. As for Clinton, her use of a private account was scrutinized thoroughly by the FBI, which determined — not once, but twice — that she didn’t do anything illegal.

This matter involving the vice president, though, does interest a lot of us because he was so very vocal during the 2016 presidential campaign about Clinton’s e-mail habits.

Karma can bite one right in the rear end.

Russia story growing more legs

My head is about to explode as I continue to consume information regarding Russia’s government, its relationship with Donald Trump and whether there might be some serious violations of federal law leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign.

National security adviser Michael Flynn has left office after less than month on the job. Did he talk out of school to Russian officials about sanctions leveled by President Obama? Did he violate the Logan Act, which prohibits such activity?

Reporting now suggests that Trump campaign officials had numerous contacts with Russian intelligence officials — while Trump was seeking to be elected president. I believe that’s against the law, too.

Did the president know about these contacts? Did he tell Flynn to negotiate with Russians about loosening the sanctions?

What in the name of God in heaven did the president know and when did he know it?

Democrats want an independent investigation. Republicans aren’t yet willing to take that leap. Imagine that.

Not all Republicans, though, are swallowing the party line. Sen. John McCain is emerging as a serious critic of the GOP president. He, too, is demanding answers. He wants to know when Flynn allegedly “lied” to Vice President Mike Pence regarding the conversations he held with Russian government officials.

So help me, I cannot fathom how this brand new administration has gotten off to this terrible start. It’s riddled with chaos, questions and controversy at virtually every level.

Trump’s response to all of this? That, too, is mind-boggling. He’s now attacking what he calls “fake media” which he said have treated Flynn “unfairly.” Good grief, man!

Why doesn’t the president of the United States demand a full accounting of all these questions? Why can’t the guy take ownership of the confusion that has erupted all around him?

Trump touted his business acumen. He bragged incessantly during the campaign about how he had built his business into a multibillion-dollar empire. Most successful billionaires, therefore, are able to run their empires with an iron hand and demand answers when matters go awry.

Trump has tossed all that aside as he has taken command of the executive branch of the U.S. government.

Any failure to deal with this stuff, to seek answers and to right a ship that is listing badly falls directly on the president.

That is, of course, unless the president is a big part of the problem.

It is incumbent, then, for an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this burgeoning crisis.