The White House has attempted to portray Vice President Mike Pence as a hapless, unknowing victim of the incessant scandals swirling around the administration. But that, we are learning, is simply not true. Pence has not been out of the loop; he has been in on all of it.
Donald Trump and his White House have offered a number of conflicting explanations and timelines about the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.
The one thing that has become abundantly clear is that the administration is not being honest with the American people. And it looks more and more every day like a massive cover-up.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough was outraged at the obvious lies coming from deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as Vice President Mike Pence.
And while neither he, nor the rest of the American people, know yet what really happened and how, it is obvious that the White House story, which continues to change by the hour, is not the truth.
And one of the most alarming lies is that the vice president is somehow not fully engaged in this administration's constant deceit. Pence lied about what he knew of disgraced former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's foreign ties. And he he certainly appears to be lying again about the Comey firing.
That was confirmed on Morning Joe by reporters Glenn Thrush and Bob Costa, who have both reported extensively on this White House and specifically the Comey firing:
SCARBOROUGH: We don't know whether Sarah Huckabee Sanders was set up to go lie for the White House. We do know from your reporting, and others' reporting, that Mike Pence was in the room when Donald Trump decided that he wanted fire Jim Comey.
THRUSH: Not only that—
SCARBOROUGH: And it's much harder for Mike Pence to say, "I was given bad information." It appears he was not lied to. It appears that he lied.
THRUSH: Joe, it's one — I can't speak to motive on that. What we know is what he said in front of the cameras was untrue and what our reporting also bore out — we got this from, I'd say, a half dozen people who were around at the time — is that Pence was one of the most forceful proponents for removing James Comey.
And here's is another thing people forget about Mike Pence. After Chris Christie was sacked on the transition, Pence took over. And Pence, despite the fact that he claimed former National Security Adviser Flynn lied to him, Pence was read in on some of these early interactions that Flynn had. So Pence has been in the room, Joe, as you know, from the very beginning.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Bob Costa, let me bring you in here. Mike Pence was also — Pence, going on the Hill yesterday and telling an untruth. We don't know whether it was deliberate or not, that Donald Trump made this decision because the deputy attorney general made the recommendation. Doesn't your reporting, and other reporting, show that Mike Pence was in the room from the very beginning, with other Trump aides, when Trump had decided, "I'm going to fire him, but I need to fire him but I need to call the deputy attorney general and Jeff Sessions over."
COSTA: My sources about the vice president, they say he was informed Monday as well as Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. The way this was always framed to me throughout the course of my calls and my colleagues' calls was that Don McGahn, the counsel, and Attorney General Sessions, were working on this for weeks because they knew the president was unhappy.
When Rosenstein became deputy AG, he starts to review the FBI. And so when they had this meeting on Monday — the president comes from Bedminster over the weekend with this idea in mind. This kernel that he wants to move on Comey. Pence is looped in and so is everybody else.
It is simply not credible that Pence is the lone innocent player in the Trump administration, despite an aggressive campaign by the White House to convince the public of that — first, surrounding the firing of Flynn, and now, in the process of how and why Comey was fired.
As Scarborough said, Pence and many others in this administration are lying:
SCARBOROUGH: Speaking of lies, Mika, I mean, again, he lies again. Sarah Huckabee lied yesterday. The vice president lied yesterday. They are all lying to us. And it's obvious they need to apologize. Mike Pence needs to apologize to America. He lied yesterday on Capitol Hill. He needs to lie to members of Congress — er, uh, apologize. They need to apologize. They've been caught in a lie, in what may be, as John Heilemann said, a growing cover-up.
The scope and depth of the administration's lies are growing worse every day. The need for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign, Trump himself, and every top-level member of his administration — including his vice president — is obvious.
The American people are owed far more than an apology. We are owed the truth.