Thursday, August 03, 2017

Could Pence Be Trump's White House Mole?

Somebody on the inside of the Trump administration is leaking information harmful to the man/baby president. In a White House fractured into warring camps it could be anyone save, perhaps, for Trump's immediate family members.

Donald Trump is ultimately to blame. He sets the cat among the pigeons. He seems to enjoy the discord, the animosity. Scaramucci's flameout was a stark example. Mooch tore into Bannon and Priebus in a rage of vulgarity only to get the boot with less than two weeks on the job.

In repeated public statements, Trump has relentlessly maligned his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who, for reasons still unknown has refused to resign. Lately he's been going after his in-house generals, Mattis and McMaster, the latter of whom may be looking at his next posting - Afghanistan.

Trump knows there's a mole, at least one. Somebody leaked Trump Jr's emails to The New York Times adding fuel to the fire of the Russian investigation.

Now more leaks. This time it's The Washington Post that has its hands on transcripts of early telephone conversations between Trump and Mexico's Enrique Nieto and Australia's Malcolm Turnbull.

Those transcripts are really embarrassing. Trump is uncovered literally begging Nieto to stop making public statements that Mexico won't pay for Trump's border wall.

Trump - They are going to say, “who is going to pay for the wall, Mr. President?” to both of us, and we should both say, “we will work it out.” It will work out in the formula somehow. As opposed to you saying, “we will not pay” and me saying, “we will not pay.”

Because you and I are both at a point now where we are both saying we are not to pay for the wall. From a political standpoint, that is what we will say. We cannot say that anymore because if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that. I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall. I am just going to say that we are working it out.

Nieto - You have a very big mark on our back, Mr. President, regarding who pays for the wall. This is what I suggest, Mr. President – let us stop talking about the wall. I have recognized the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient. But my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.

Trump - But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances.

Trump's conversation with the Australian prime minister was no less whinging and the leak will be embarrassing. Who can tell what else is coming.

The big question, however, is who may benefit from embarrassing and undermining Donald Trump? Steve Bannon, hardly. Reince Priebus? He's gone. Mike Flynn? Revenge, possibly. Jeff Sessions, unlikely. McMaster? Still a serving officer. No. Mattis? A straight shooter. No. Someone from the Talking Shop, Spicer? I doubt it. 

There is one person. Mike Pence. Trump didn't appoint him. Pence was co-elected with Trump on that dreadful night last November. Trump can't fire him. From Foreign Policy:

Your boss is completely out of control. You know this, probably better than we do. You know that he is incapable of controlling his behavior and could lash out at any moment in a fashion that could be ruinous. You know that’s true even if there’s nothing to all those Russian allegations. And you know that all those denials — including the ones to your face — have proved false. You know, in other words, that it could happen. And if it does, you will face the monumental task of leading a fractured country forward out of the wreckage. The time to begin preparing for that moment is now.

You occupy an unusual position in our constitutional structure. Because you, like the president himself, were elected by the people, you are the only member of the executive branch whom Donald Trump cannot fire. This gives you unusual power in a White House more closely modeled on Lord of the Flies than Abraham Lincoln’s team of rivals. You do not, as White House staffers are so fond of reminding one another, serve at the pleasure of the president. He’s stuck with you. He can marginalize you, but he can’t get rid of you entirely.

It is critical that you recognize the distinction between yourself and the courtiers who jockey for his favor. You do not merely serve Donald Trump. You have an independent relationship with the American people, and Trump’s fall — whenever it eventually comes to pass — will be your rise. It’s time for you to stop acting like one of the courtiers and start acting like a potential successor, a viable one. The strength and nature of your independent relationship with the people may well have profound consequences for a post-Trump America. So risk his displeasure and start cultivating that relationship now.

Being Donald Trump's sock puppet can't be a lot of fun. Maybe Mike Pence sees the writing on the wall for Donald Trump and who would blame him for wanting to speed up the process?


Toby said...

My suspicion was his wife who always looks like she really does not want to be there. I'm surprised she hasn't filed for divorce.

Have you ruled out Vlad's Russian hackers? There aren't many in Trump's crowd who have the brains to protect their backsides.

Pence is an interesting possibility. I can't quite see him in that role. I like to think Pence has standards but he is aligned with Trump so his standards can't be very high.

Dana said...

Pence has standards Offred would recognize.

Anonymous said...

He has both motive and opportunity - you could be onto something here, Mound.


crf said...

Certainly if Trump has to go, Pence benefits. But him being the leaker wouldn't fit his character would it? And why go to that risk? If the leaker is arch-politically motivated, and doesn't have much to lose, I might consider who would benefit from a Pence presidency: such as who would be his VP?

Anybody would had access to those telephone call transcripts could be the leaker, from translators to policy people to aides, and they could be leaking for any number of reasons.

Anonymous said...

More pieces of the puzxle fall into place as Flynn admits he was employed by Cambridge Analytica.


The Mound of Sound said...

In response to all your comments I went looking and, first hit, bang.

Food for thought.

the salamander said...

.. pro Pence advocates near top of the food chain (among others) would get the raw transcripts, direct from transcribers or edit staff. Digital versions come out first, then hard copy.. digital being the easiest to purloin via cel phone or laptop.. but equally simple is duplicate the audio file in 10 secs and up to the cloud for a remote clandestine transcription. You'd easily accomplish this during the backup - archive stages. The discrete variations between official and clandestine transcription are obvious & only a fool would copy and leak the official transcription at any stage of its edit and cleanup. They watermark and hide distinct clues in docs like that, just to catch such leakers.

This White House & its various floating WH staff attending Trump at his golf clubs are so fractious. And dont forget the Secret Service and the Marines may play to their own agendas. But its the family members, Miller and Bannon et al plus Pence that I suspect are small talking & selling out such scoops as quid pro quo for leaks & timely info from Congress or the Senate.. The main thing is transcriptions are verbatim & Donald of Trumpland off the top of his head verbatim is laughable.. absolutely laughable as opposed to the spin merchants Conway, Hannity, Huckabee et al. Its all a perfect setup for a GOP controlled & compliant Pence

The Mound of Sound said...

Or this from the Chicago Tribune.

The Mound of Sound said...

That's a fascinating development, Cap. Flynn as liaison with Cambridge Analytica during the campaign. Perhaps that's another factor in the rumours that Flynn is rolling over for Robert Mueller's investigation.

The Mound of Sound said...

Chris, that Boston Globe article adds some meat to the stew about Pence as a schemer. I've read a few reports that noted Pence has been distancing himself from Trump in public lately. That could be a sign that he's preparing himself for a transition.

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, I doubt that Bannon or Miller would do anything to subvert Trump. If Pence came in those heathens would be out on Pennsylvania Avenue looking in.

I wonder if the Trump Jr./Veselnitskaya document leak was intended to pre-emptively gut the Trump family cabal in the White House. The transcripts, by contrast, go to Trump himself and his obvious psychological challenges.

Anonymous said...

Mike Pence , President! Shiver.

The alliance of State and Religion will be complete.

Pence is far too quiet and recluse to be trusted.

Lets be honest ; since Pence was brought in as vice president the writing has been on the wall.

Pence is Trumps biggest /bigliest/hugely bigley miscalculation.


Anonymous said...

I note that the two transcripts that were leaked were conversations that didn't go well. They're interesting and damaging, but I suspect not nearly as damaging as a conversation that by Trump's account went well. I'm referring of course to the chat with Putin. Wait until that shoe drops.


Northern PoV said...

"Could Pence Be Trump's White House Mole?"

Who cares?

Inside baseball. Pence will be worse.
News flash: Corbyn's Labour party took some council seats in the UK that they've been shut out of for 40 years.