Given the multitude of names associated with the Trump Administration and involved in all of its scandals, when you stop and think about it, it’s actually quite perplexing how Mike Pence has managed to avoid having his name dragged into the thick of things. Under normal circumstances, I would say this should be considered a good thing. However, normal circumstances are a rarity these days, so on the contrary, this generates a ton of suspicion.
Perhaps history is to blame for some of the skepticism, but quite frankly, there’s enough of it out there to draw a very concerning parallel. Don’t believe me? Well, then I suggest you listen to the podcast Bag Man podcast created by Rachel Maddow and her former producer Mike Yarvitz in which they revisit the story of former Vice President Spiro Agnew.
Although his resignation was officially linked to tax evasion, Maddow notes in the podcast that it is a big misconception to believe it was the sole focus.
“When I tried to sort of thumbnail in my mind what happened in the Agnew resignation, everything I thought about it was wrong,” she says. “I had assumed that it was a Watergate-adjacent scandal, that the FBI was looking into Watergate-related crimes and they stumbled upon something in Spiro Agnew’s taxes. … All of those things were completely wrong.”
While serving as a Baltimore County executive in the early 1960s, Agnew had allegedly engaged in acts of bribery by demanding kickbacks in exchange for local engineering or architecture contracts. According to Yarvitz’ account, he continued the practice while serving as governor of Maryland in 1967 and while serving as vice president in 1969.
“He … started that scheme in local politics and then he carried it right into the White House,” Yarvitz says. “The men who were sort of streaming into his office at the White House were paying him money for contracts they had gotten in Maryland, and in some cases, he was trying to influence the awarding of federal contracts.”
Pretty alarming, right? Well, luckily, around the time all of this bribery and extortion information was coming to light and under investigation, the infamous Watergate investigation was also taking place and nearing its peak. While Agnew tried to do everything within his power to get the limelight off himself and shut things down, Prosecutors in Agnew’s case were terrified by the prospect of a Nixon resignation as it would mean Agnew would take over the Oval Office.
Fortunately, they pressed on with the investigation and were able to successfully force Agnew into resignation. The Democrats then used the leverage of Nixon’s failing presidency to bring Gerald Ford in as Agnew’s successor.
With that history lesson now established, we can all draw the parallel lines and see where this is going. However, as far as we know, Mike Pence is no Spiro Agnew, though. Or is he? I mean, although his name has not been among those connected to the Trump Administration, Transition, and Campaign scandals to date, surely it’s in the mix somehow.
If it is, then there’s no time better than the present to find out. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller is prepared to drop the hammer on Trump and he’s ousted, Mike Pence would be poised to take over. Is that really what we want?