Vice President Mike Pence seemingly sought to put distance between himself and the president on Wednesday by claiming that he – unlike his boss – did not personally talk with Ukraine about getting dirt on Joe Biden.
In remarks to reporters in Iowa, Pence said, “I never discussed the issue of the Bidens with President Zelensky.”
He added, “The issue of aid and our efforts with regard to Ukraine were, from my experience, in no way connected to” any talk of investigating the Bidens.
The vice president is basically saying that, sure, Trump may have tried to extort a foreign power, but he had nothing to do with it.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 9, 2019
I never discussed the issue of the Bidens with President Zelensky. And what I can tell you is that all of our discussions internally, the president and our team, in our context in my office with Ukraine, were entirely focused on the broader issues of the lack of European support and corruption. … Let me be very clear. The issue of aid and our efforts with regard to Ukraine were from my experience, in no way connected to the very legitimate concern the American people have about corruption that took place, about things that happened in the 2016 election.
The Ukraine scandal could bring down Pence
There’s a good reason why Mike Pence appears to be choosing his words very carefully when he discusses the Ukraine extortion scandal: It could bring him down, too.
As I wrote last month when this scandal first broke, the vice president was clearly a major player in the president’s effort to pressure Ukraine into doing his political bidding, whether he knew it or not.
On the front end, Trump’s TV lawyer and international embarrassment Rudy Giuliani pressured Ukraine to turn over dirt on the Biden family. Pence then came in to remind Ukraine about the U.S. military aid they desperately needed in their ongoing conflict with Russia.
As the Democrats continue to unravel Donald Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors, Mike Pence is clearly trying to put some distance between himself and the president.