Mike Pence was in charge of the Trump presidential transition, but his name is suspiciously absent from records of it.
Mike Pence was the head of the Trump presidential transition team, but his name is mysteriously missing from emails during that period.
Investigators on the House Intelligence Committee say they have looked over thousands of emails from the transition team but cannot find Pence’s name. The committee has been tasked with investigating the emails as part of its examination of Russia’s election interference.
Pence’s missing mentions raise questions about how much transparency is truly being offered by the Trump team, and if his role is being covered up to protect him from fallout from the investigation.
He was named as the head of the presidential transition in November 2016, after the Trump team decided to shove Chris Christie aside.
The announcement was heralded in a Trump press release at the time with a quote from Trump noting that a team “led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence” would “help prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one.”
Pence’s unusual disappearance from the emails during this period raises questions about his role in the vetting and hiring of Michael Flynn.
It was during this period that the transition team was told by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) that Flynn had lobbied on the behalf of a foreign entity.
After receiving that information, the Pence-led team nonetheless gave him a rubber stamp to become Trump’s national security adviser.
It soon became public knowledge that Flynn had been in communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, lied about it, and was purged from his position after serving only 24 days.
The fallout from his tenure has continued to plague the Trump team. Pence has repeatedly tried to evade blame and responsibility for his role in vetting and hiring Flynn.
Flynn recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is reportedly cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign’s related role.
It seems unusual that during a transition period in which so much happened, with key figures like Flynn and the Russian ambassador and documents warning about Flynn that were received by the committee, that Pence’s name has disappeared.
Yet the omissions follow a pattern, where Pence has tried mightily to separate himself from this disturbing and scandal-plagued episode with the Trump team.
He has insisted that he was “not aware” of collusion between the Trump team and Russia. When confronted on the campaign’s outreach to Russian operatives, Pence always claims that happened before he joined the presidential ticket.
If any emails showed Pence’s name in connection with vetting Flynn, his carefully constructed narrative where the Russia scandal does not taint him would quickly collapse. But conveniently, those emails can’t be found.