Epilogue—Locking Pence up: Yesterday, Vice President Pence acknowledged the fact that he has hired a lawyer.
More precisely, he has hired "a personal criminal defense lawyer to guide him through the various investigations encircling the White House," according to this news report in the New York Times.
The Times report appears today at the bottom on page A20. In reality, no one is actually surprised to learn that Pence has hired a lawyer. The Times report downplays the significance of the hire in the following manner:
RUIZ (6/16/17): Mr. Pence, who had little relationship with the president before joining the campaign ticket just before last July’s Republican convention, is most likely a peripheral figure in the government’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the election and potential collusion with members of the Trump campaign...Pence will be wanted as a witness, the New York Times seems to believe.
But as the special counsel investigation progresses—focusing increasingly on the president himself and his actions in office—the vice president’s account as a possible witness may become more relevant.
(Warning: If we lock Trump up, and Pence takes over, he could possibly get some bills passed!)
For all we know, Pence could turn out to be the globe's top criminal mastermind. That said, no one was surprised that he hired a lawyer, a behavior which is quite routine when a chase like this is on.
Last night, the topic arose during Anderson Cooper's program. Shortly after 8:30 Eastern, Jeffrey Toobin and Alan Dershowitz spoke to the CNN star.
What did Cooper's legal panel think about the hire? They thought it was a nothingburger! The segment started with this:
COOPER (6/15/17): Jeff Toobin, the fact that the Vice President Pence has retained an outside attorney to deal with the special counsel, it's not only his right to do so, I assume any lawyer worth his salt would recommend it and it, obviously, doesn't mean he did anything wrong?"It's a non-event," Toobin said.
TOOBIN: That's exactly right. I mean, there have been many, many significant developments in this investigation recently. Mike Pence hiring a lawyer is not one of them. I mean he is, obviously, going to be interviewed at some point. There may be document requests. He did the prudent thing in hiring a lawyer. But I don't think it suggests anything about any possible culpability on his part. It's a non-event.
Dershowitz didn't comment at all. The discussion moved to an ongoing debate between the two men about the possibility that Donald J. Trump has committed obstruction of justice.
That dismissive exchange about the hire occurred just after 8:30 PM. A half hour later, another major corporate star explosively went on the air.
In her world, the fact that Pence has hired a lawyer ranked up there with Babe Ruth's sixty home runs and the bombing of Hiroshima. As usual, her program was built around our great tribal dream, the dream of locking them up.
Rachel Maddow started last night's program with a rambling 22-minute segment. It was built around the pleasing fact that Pence had hired a lawyer.
On CNN, it was a non-event. On the Maddow Show, it was a glorious chance to pleasure us rubes with our greatest tribal desire.
Maddow started in a familiar old way. She pleasured us with a loving review of all the Republicans who got indicted during Watergate and, in the Reagan years, as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.
According to Maddow's loving recital, "nineteen people were indicted in the Watergate scandal." Later, in Iran-contra, "fourteen Reagan Administration officials were indicted, criminally charged in that scandal, up to and including the serving Secretary of Defense."
"They both happened to be scandals from Republican presidencies," the cable star reminded us at one point. In this way, she made sure that we'd ingest the key nutrients in her porridge.
Over the course of her endless segment, the cable star went on and on, then on and on some more. But at 9:05, she introduced her central theme:
Mike Pence has hired a lawyer! We learned this fact today!
There followed a convoluted but familiar recitation of all the Mueller-led investigations which may be under way. At 9:14, she introduced a key figure:
She introduced us to Richard Cullen, Mike Pence's newly-hired lawyer.
By now, we were so deep in the weeds that children of Maddow's viewers were acquiring lime tick disease as they slept in their beds. There followed an utterly pointless eight-minute history of Cullen's legal career. Inevitably, the history was built around this claim:
"One of the things he is known for in his career is the very interesting role he has had in other big Republican presidential scandals."
Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! Tribally, that sounded good!
Cullen sereved as a lawyer during Iran-contra, Maddow now revealed. And then, at long last, we were rewarded! We were handed one of this cable star's patented "Maddow tales!"
It started at 9:18. As she neared the end of her segment, Maddow spent several minutes pretending that Cullen had also served as a lawyer during the Watergate probe.
That pleasing assertion was false. But this kind of "truthful hyperbole" is the sort of service we liberals get, night after night, from this corporate seller of cars.
If you want to punish yourself this weekend, watch the tape of this 22-minute segment. If you do, be advised that the closing story about Richard Cullen, Watergate lawyer is, alas, factually false.
Whatever! Also this:
As you watch this endless piffle, try to remember that this whole segment was built around yesterday's "non-event." But also, remember the role this nonsense plays in our current tribal culture.
It's as we've told you all week long. In the hands of corporate stooges like Maddow, our approach is increasingly clear:
We lose elections all over the country, partly because stooges like Maddow mug and clown and entertain us and keep refusing to fight. After we manage to lose these elections, we then try to lock them up!
We hope and pray that the FBI can catch the winners in some sort of crime. We pretend we've staged a resistance.
We pray the courts will reject their executive orders. We know we can't win public debates, and so we pray for this!
Maddow is skillful at selling the car. Last night, the car was built around a "non-event."
We even got a "Maddow tale." The pleasing tale was false. But it felt so good going down!
Coming next week: "Ridiculous us!" An award-winning look at our tribe in action
Concerning Maddow transcripts: As best we can tell, MSNBC has stopped producing transcripts for the little people.
The channel still has a transcript site. But it hasn't posted a Maddow transcript since May 16. In its typical sketchy way, the channel hasn't explained why this service has ceased.
The channel still posts transcripts on Nexis, but you have to pay for that. As ratings and corporate profits go up, services seem to go down.
The world of the suits can be like that. Lawrence just won a rich new contract. As with the GOP, so too here:
Cutbacks in services to us rubes will pay for his third or fourth home.