4 times Mike Pence's stories haven’t added up


As President Donald Trump draws intense scrutiny amid an escalating series of scandals, Vice President Mike Pence has largely managed to avoid the spotlight. 

The former Indiana governor has a mild demeanor and folksy cadence that contrasts heavily with the president's brash, confrontational style. But a segment on Thursday by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow provided a lengthy look at the vice president's dubious statements and highlighted his growing credibility problem.

The vice president's slippery relationship to the truth isn't a new phenomenon.

Here's a look at four of Pence's most misleading statements.

Pence claimed ignorance of Michael Flynn controversies, despite Flynn's disclosure

Flynn's alleged dishonesty with Pence was cited as the reason for his firing. Pence firmly claimed that he knew nothing about either Michael Flynn's work as a foreign agent for Turkey or ties to Russia, per NBC News

"The vice president stands by his comments in March upon first hearing the news regarding General Flynn's ties to Turkey and fully supports the President's decision to ask for General Flynn's resignation," an unnamed aide to Pence told CNN.

Flynn not only disclosed his lobbying for the Turkish government to the transition team, he even blatantly admitted to being under investigation, according to CNN.

Pence was the head of the transition team.

Evan Vucci/AP

Even Trump couldn't stick to Pence's story about firing Comey

The vice president insisted that the firing of FBI Director James Comey was not related to the investigation regarding Russia's involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Pence made a statement about the firing, claiming that Trump was merely accepting a recommendation from the deputy attorney general and attorney general.

As reported by CNN:

Let me be very clear that the President's decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interests of the American people and to ensuring that the FBI has the trust and confidence of the people this nation.

Even Donald Trump didn't stick to this story.

“Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey," Trump told Lester Hold in a televised NBC interview.

Pence claimed the Trump team didn't talk to Russia during campaign

On CBS News' Face the Nation, Pence was asked if anyone on Trump's team was in contact with Russia during the campaign.

Pence responded, "Of course not." He doubled down by calling such allegations "bizarre rumors."

The overt denial by Pence was at best unwise, since controversies around Trump team members and Russia had been swirling since early 2016. 

The vice president should have been informed, for example, that adviser Carter Page had worked in Russia predating his time on the Trump campaign and was investigated by the FBI, according to the New York Times.

Reuters reported today that the Trump campaign had 18 undisclosed conversations with Russia prior to Trump's inauguration.

Michael Flynn was included on the list of contacts.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Pence reverses course on anti-LGBTQ law

On March 6th, 2015, while still serving as governor of Indiana, Pence signed a virulently anti-LGBTQ law that allowed businesses to refuse service to gay individuals, according to CNN.

The law was so obviously discriminatory that businesses began pulling out of Indiana. According to HuffPost, canceled business in Indiana over the law included everything from a $40-million expansion of the Indianapolis-based headquarters of Angie's List, to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees women's conference, a 1.6 million-member group who planned to meet in Indianapolis.

Salesforce CEO went so far as to publicly tweet that his organization wouldn't even ask employees to step foot in the state.

Despite the backlash, Pence refused to acknowledge the obvious reality that this law was a civil rights disaster.

“We're not going to change the law," Pence told ABC News, insisting that the law was about First Amendment rights and not discrimination.

On April 2, 2015, Pence signed a bill to change the law.