Amid the scandals engulfing President Donald Trump's White House, there's one figure who's remained clearly absent: Vice President Mike Pence.
CNN's editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, said Pence has been “nearly invisible for the last 48 hours or so,” The Independent reports.
While news outlets have remained focused on the Trump administration ever since the president fired former FBI Director James Comey, few have been able to connect Pence to the investigation into possible ties between Trump's campaign and transition team to Russia. Perhaps this notion stems from many on the right viewing Pence as an incorruptible player in the Trump White House.
But now, Democrats are beginning to question that narrative, believing that as the head of the Trump transition team, Pence might have been in the know long before these scandals broke.
As the head of the transition team, Pence was the one who tapped former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn for the role. To Democrats like Stephanie Schriock, this association “is not good” for the vice president.
Schriock serves as the president of EMILY's List, a group that focuses on backing candidates who stand for abortion rights, but she isn't the only Democrat speaking out. Emily Aden, the director of liberal political group American Bridge, which prides itself on holding Republican politicians accountable and supporting Democratic candidates, released a memo on Thursday saying that now is the “time to talk about Mike Pence.”
“Pence is just as complicit in this scandal as every other Republican in Washington, and despite his best efforts to fly under the radar, he should expect the country to hold him accountable,” she concluded.
New reports show that Flynn alerted the transition team back in January that the Justice Department had been looking into whether he had any role in working as a foreign lobbyist for Turkish interests, which suggests Pence may have known more than he now admits. After all, Flynn was let go a month later after the former security adviser allegedly lied to Pence about having had private conversations with the Russian ambassador.
At the time, a Trump administration official told reporters Pence was not aware of Flynn's activities during the transition period, referring to an interview the vice president gave in March in which he stated he had just heard about Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador then.
And when Trump dismissed Comey, Pence again stood by the president's story, confirming that Trump had only decided on firing Comey after receiving a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
To critics, Pence should be looked at more closely precisely for being so intimately involved in the transition process. Still, as Washington and the media focus on the Trump scandals, Pence remains extremely quiet in the background, allegedly working on policy issues and being very careful not to comment on the whole FBI scandal.
During a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thursday, Pence only referred to the current turmoil to ensure attendees that “Trump will never stop fighting for the issues that matter most to the American people.” To many, his strangely quiet and reassuring demeanor hides something else, and they may not rest until Pence's possible role comes to light.
Perhaps, Pence is just playing it cool because of all the impeachment talk. After all, if Trump gets canned, Pence is the next one in line. Then, he might be telling himself, the real conservative agenda might be implemented.
Still, nothing will be clarified until the special counsel starts revealing more information on its probe into Trump's team and their alleged Russian ties.