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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from

Mike Pence is all-knowing about the White House when he needs to be — and also completely out of the loop when it suits him.

In an interview with NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, for example, he tried to play it both ways in the span of 60 seconds.

Asked about the most recent bombshell in a series of scandals about Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen — that he sold multiple corporations access to the Trump administration for millions of dollars — Pence was dismissive and ignorant.

“That private matter is something I don’t have any knowledge about,” Pence said.

The very serious allegations are certainly not a private matter; they implicate the Trump administration directly. Both AT&T and pharma giant Novartis have confirmed payments to Cohen in exchange for access, and Novartis admitted its CEO had dinner with Trump after making its final payment to Cohen.

These are very serious charges — which is why special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating them. Yet Pence is trying to shrug it off as a “private matter” he knows nothing about.

Just seconds before, however, he was suggesting a great deal of knowledge. He asserted that the administration has “fully cooperated” with Mueller’s investigation, and specifically cited the provision of “over a million documents” it has turned over.

And based on that, Mueller should end the investigation, “in the interest of the country,” according to Pence.

So which is it?

Does Pence know enough about the investigation and the administration to call on Mueller to end it? Or is he merely the hapless, unknowing vice president who is conveniently excluded from the biggest and most incriminating issues? And if so, how does he know the pay-for-access story is merely a “private matter” rather than a criminal one?

Throughout his term in office, Pence has tried to keep just enough distance between himself and the ever-expanding chaotic mess that is the White House. That’s a smart move for him, of course. Why would he want to be implicated, especially if he is quietly plotting to run for the top job?

But it also makes it hard for him to credibly insist that Mueller’s investigation, mountains of evidence, and already collected guilty pleas — which he does or does not know anything about, depending on the moment — is much ado about nothing.


Donald Trump Jr.

Screenshot from Twitter

You've probably heard about Donald Trump's claim that his Democratic rival got "a big fat se onhot in the ass" before delivering a nearly perfect performance on a recently televised town hall. Or his more recent demand that Joe Biden get a "drug test" before their debate on Tuesday night. Having spent months lowering expectations for Biden, the Trumps are now busily defaming him as a junkie.

But that particular slur backfired spectacularly over the weekend when the Trump campaign posted a bizarre video of Don Jr. -- seemingly in a condition that called for rehab services. As his father might put it, "many people are saying" that the presidential spud looked and sounded like someone abusing a controlled substance. (His slurred message was disturbed too, something about an "army of able-bodied men and women" to intimidate voters).

It's both funny and sad to watch Don Jr. decompensate on Twitter. (More funny, though.)

Click and judge his condition for yourself.