Mike Pence’s meeting with the President of Ukraine about aid to that country places him smack in the middle of any Trump crime of extorting Ukraine into digging up dirt on Joe Biden’s son.
September 21, 2019

Joy Reid reminded viewers today that Mike Pence met with Ukraine President Zelensky this month with a clip of Pence saying said the two had discussed U.S. support “and the upcoming decision the president will make on the latest tranche of financial support in great detail.”

Although Pence denied having discussed Joe Biden “at all” with Zelensky, he said nothing about the holdup of aid being dependent on the country digging up dirt on Biden’s son. Reid asked if there might have been some kind of “bifurcation of resources” in which Rudy Giuliani was “pitching for dirt” from the Ukrainians about Biden’s son while Pence delivered some kind of message about the money.

Guest Natasha Bertrand, national security reporter for Politico, said there is no reporting to that effect and the aid timeline is not clear. But she also suggested Pence probably knew that the aid was being withheld as “a stick” when he met with Zelensky. “It would be shocking, obviously, if Mike Pence wasn’t aware of the president’s disdain for the Ukrainians, and that goes back a long time,” Bertrand said. She said Trump thought they helped Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and he has told aides he thinks they have always been against him. That, of course, fits neatly into Trump’s devotion to Vladimir Putin who is “essentially” at war with the country. Whatever Trump does to undermine Ukraine’s security “is essentially another aid to Vladimir Putin,” Bertrand said.

Reid asked her other guest, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, if this will draw Pence into the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Vance said the fact that there isn’t reporting on that “should be really troubling to all of us,” given that Pence shows up in the timeline “at a key point.” With the Department of Justice either sidelined or even in cahoots with the White House, the role of Congress couldn't be more crucial. “We need to call this what this is. This is a major threat to the rule of law,” Vance said. “People in Congress on both sides of the aisle need to set aside their political affiliation and get to the bottom of this.”

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