Exposed: Vice President Mike Pence was installed by a Russian operative and has deep ties to “dark money”.
Governor Eric Greitens is a Republican rising star. The 43-year-old former Navy SEAL rode the coattails of Donald Trump all the way to the Missouri Governor’s mansion in November, when he defeated Democrat Chris Koster 51%-45%.
Greitens has barely been in office for nine months and he’s attracting his fair share of critics. In March, The St Louis Post-Dispatch called his tenure “creepy” and The Kansas City Star published an editorial criticizing Greitens for “secret fundraising and secret spending”.
Just a block away from the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City, Greitens’ former campaign manager is running “A New Missouri Inc”, a slush fund masquerading as a social welfare nonprofit. The governor operates the nonprofit so he can accept unfettered contributions from foreign and corporate interests, skirting state election rules.
Greitens’ election campaign was powered by a single $1.9 million donation from a super PAC funneled through the American Policy Coalition run by lawyer David Langdon who has been dubbed “the nexus of dark money” by the Center of Public Integrity. Langdon is among a small group of lawyers “working to keep secret the origins of millions of dollars coursing through the American political system.”
It’s emerged that Greitens’ other big donor included the DeVos family who have been grooming Mike Pence for years and his election was run by Nick Ayres, Pence’s Chief of Staff.
Pence’s pick as VP was engineered by Paul Manafort. The two had daily phone calls during transition.
Donald Trump initially wanted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to serve as his Vice President but Campaign Manager Paul Manafort had a different idea. On July 12 last year, Manafort concocted a tall tale about mechanical problems with Trump’s plane to force the then presumptive nominee to overnight in Indianapolis and meet Indiana Governor Mike Pence for breakfast the next morning.
“What had previously been reported as a “lucky break” by the New York Times was actually a swift political maneuver devised by the now fired campaign manager. Set on changing Trump’s mind,” CBS News reported.
The entire Trump family met Pence and his brood at the Governor’s mansion the next day and the two politicians sealed a deal to run on the same ticket. Pence declared he was “honored’ and “humbled” to be considered and Trump sidelined Christie by telling the New Jersey Governor, “it would tear my family apart if I gave you VP,” a source said.
Within a month, Manafort was officially exiled from the Trump campaign after it was revealed he illegally took $12.7 million from a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician. It later emerged Manafort was also being paid $10 million a year by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on behalf of Vladimir Putin between 2006 and 2009, “to greatly benefit the Putin Government,”
While Manafort officially disappeared from the campaign in August, he kept in close contact with Mike Pence well after Election Day and throughout the transition. “I think he is weighing in on everything,” a former official told The Daily Beast. “I think he still talks to Trump every day. I mean, Pence? That was all Manafort. Pence is on the phone with Manafort regularly.”
It’s worth recalling Pence headed the Trump transition team and was responsible for appointing Lt-Gen Michael Flynn as the National Security Adviser despite having been warned Flynn was compromised by Turkey and Russia. Flynn would later be forced to resign for his compromising contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Pence’s role in any Obstruction of Justice related to Flynn and the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Mueller’s investigators are also probing Manafort’s financial dealings with Russia, Deripaska and donations to the Republican Party. Pence has also lawyered up with seasoned criminal attorney Richard Cullen of the law firm McGuireWoods to “assist him in responding to inquiries by the special counsel.”
Pence’s ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska date back to before the campaign and may involve an illegal private email account Pence maintained while Indiana Governor.
Another sign Russian fingerprints were all over the Pence appointment came in the form of a ringing endorsement from Sergei Millian, president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, and a long-time Deripaska associate. Millian called Pence an “excellent’ candidate” all while being under FBI investigation as a Russian spy recruiter. “He works well in his post and gets by without scandals,” Millian said.
Deripaska used to be one of Russia’s richest men but a series of bankruptcies has left him and his company Rusal beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2016, then Indiana Governor Mike Pence led an economic mission to Israel and later picked up a lucrative deal from Rusal’s Israeli partner Omen to open an aluminum parts factory in Pence’s state of Indiana.
It’s around that time that Pence had an email scandal of his own. Pence’s private AOL email account was compromised by a Russian hacker. Pence took six months to turn over his emails to Indiana officials, raising the specter that Russia may have kompromat on Pence and that he may have attempted to delete important emails before handing over the documents to investigators.
Pence has also been close to mercenary Erik Prince for over a decade. Prince met with Pence at the Trump transition offices in December 2016 before undertaking a secret mission to meet with Russian officials in the Seychelles In January this year.
Republican dark money and Russia operatives are backing a new team in the event Trump is impeached.
With the Trump administration in trouble, Vice President Mike Pence has taken the unusual move of forming his own fundraising committee, raising millions for a political action committee and a legal defense fund for the Trump-Russia affair. Pence’s fund is the brainchild of Nick Ayres, who also became the Vice President’s Chief of Staff on July 28.
There are signs the group of billionaire funders and Russian operatives who helped install Trump are preparing for his impeachment and readying Pence for the presidency with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens being groomed for vice-president.
Those dreams may be short-lived. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Vice President Mike Pence is himself a person of interest in Robert Mueller’s investigation. Pence had extensive and daily interactions with Paul Manafort, a known Russian asset, even after Manafort left the campaign. Pence’s financial deals involving satellite companies of Oleg Deripaska and “dark money” political operations remain the subject of increased scrutiny complicated by Pence’s own hacked email scandal. Most troubling to investigators must be the notion that Pence himself was installed at the behest of the Kremlin.