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Donald Trump Jacob Heilbrunn Politics US Politics

Mike Pence must be grinning as he waits in the wings

The Vice President is the only one who has everything to gain by remaining at his side and replacing him

August 24, 2018

1:20 PM

24 August 2018

1:20 PM

Oh, how Vice President Mike Pence must be licking his chops today. One by one, Donald Trump’s retainers are jettisoning their old boss. Yesterday it was David Pecker who apparently has a safe bulging with unflattering stories about Trump’s escapades. Today it is Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, whose flip in exchange for immunity about his payments of $420,000 to Michael Cohen is perhaps the most damaging blow yet to Trump’s political fortunes.

These defections suggest why Trump’s tried and true playbook of piling the Pelion of distraction on the Ossa of calumny will no longer work. Each day seems to bring another hammer blow. The mounting evidence of corruption threatens to bury Trump under the mountain of his own mendacity.

Ask yourself this: if Trump was lying about the payments — recall that in April on Air Force One, he flatly denied any knowledge and shoved all responsibility on Cohen — then why should we repose any more trust in his statements about collusion with Russia? Trump lies so naturally, so profusely that he makes Bill Clinton look like a choir boy in comparison.

GOP senators such as Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham may want to think twice before further tethering their reputations to Trump. Yesterday they sought to smooth the path for Trump to fire his attorney general Jeff Sessions. Senator Ben Sasse, though, says he will not vote on a replacement if Trump sacks Sessions.

‘What kind of a man is this?’ Trump asked about Sessions yesterday during an interview with a simpering Ainsley Earhardt of Fox News. Enough of a man, it seems, to fire back at Trump with a message indicating he would not subordinate the Justice Department to Trump’s whims. Trump would like to turn it into a Star Chamber that targets those on his enemies list. Trump, you could even say, is flipping out.

Soon enough Trump will need to prepare for the inevitable. Of Trump’s followers, Pence is the only one who has everything to gain by remaining at his side and replacing him as president. As the Trump presidency collapses, it is Pence who will be shown to have been the most artful and prescient member of his entourage.


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