With Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign Chairman who was fired amid discovery of ties to Russia, now in the spotlight over a bombshell report that the FBI has evidence linking the Trump campaign to Russia, there is now a new focal point: Mike Pence.
Per the New York Post, Trump had initially offered the position of Vice President to Chris Christie. However, Paul Manafort – who was the Trump campaign chairman at the time – pressured Trump into giving Pence a second look.
CBS News reported:
Manafort had arranged for Trump to meet with his first choice for the job on July 13: Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Afterwards, the plans was for Trump and Pence to then fly back to New York together and a formal announcement would be made, a campaign source said of Manafort’s thinking.
What had previously been reported as a “lucky break” by the New York Times was actually a swift political maneuver devised by the now fired campaign manager. Set on changing Trump’s mind, he concocted a story that Trump’s plane had mechanical problems, forcing the soon-to-be Republican nominee to stay the night in Indianapolis for breakfast with the Pence family on Wednesday morning.
Swayed by Pence’s aggressive pitch, Trump agreed to ditch Christie and make Pence his VP the following day, according to a source.
From there, The Daily Beast reported that Manafort was advising Trump on his cabinet picks. Their source explained:
“I think he’s weighing in on everything,” the former official said, “I think he still talks to Trump every day. I mean, Pence? That was all Manafort. Pence is on the phone with Manafort regularly.”
“A guy like Manafort tries to make sure that the government is as comfortable for business as possible. He wants names he knows on every door.”
Manafort was then fired from the Trump campaign after he was caught communicating with Russian officials. However, The AP just reported:
Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire with a plan to “greatly benefit the Putin Government.”
Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government.
With new FBI evidence that suggests Trump associates may indeed have coordinated with the Russians, it is important to remember who Manafort installed as Vice President, second in command to (an unstable and impeachable) Donald Trump.
The Daily Beast’s source, a former campaign official who worked closely with Manafort, said, “As a lobbyist, Manafort is particularly concerned with decisions the president-elect might make that will affect his industry.” Manafort’s “industry” is a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006 with aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally.
Pence has stayed out of the spotlight amid Trump’s fall – in both approval ratings and an impending impeachment – but he is just as culpable as the rest of Trump’s cabinet members, many of whom have already had their ties to Russia revealed.
The truth will come out, and when all is revealed, Vice President Pence will go down with Trump’s sinking ship.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.