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What If Mike Pence Is the Best Never Trumper? (The Secret Podcast PREVIEW)

August 4, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Sarah and JVL talk about the latest arraignment.

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:00

    Hey there. It’s J. V. L. On the Secret Show with Sarah Longwell today, we talked about Mike Pence and indictment number three and the new arraignment and all all all of that stuff.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:11

    Here’s the show. I don’t know if I can talk about the indictment. I’ve talked about the indictment all week, all places. Okay. So let’s assume that everybody has gotten their fill of indictment talk.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:29

    Although There was a meta discussion of this in which the number of people in Republican conservative world now saying that you can’t these crim these are not really criminal things. The proper way to hold Donald Trump countable for these actions would have been to impeach him and remove him from office. Now I understand that maybe it’s not true Again, you’d have to go back and spend days and days searching through Twitter and the maybe none of these people at the time. Maybe they were all pro impeachment. Maybe none of them said, as Mitch McConnell said, that, you know, the proper, don’t forget the courts exist and even a former president is not, immune to the rule of law.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:20

    Do you remember that Mitch McConnell speech? That great beautiful speech he made after He had all the best words after he voted not to convict Trump of impeachment. Yeah. The the the people who and maybe Some of the people at least who were against convicting on impeachment because, look, this is a matter for the criminal courts. Are now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:40

    It like exact exactly like the people who said, you know, I’m sorry we we can’t impeach him. Because we have to delay the trial, and now we can’t impeach him because he’s not president anymore.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:52

    Do we eat avocados?
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:55

    Yes. Okay. You know
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:56

    how with an avocado, it’s like not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe. And, like, for thirty seconds, it’s ripe, and then it’s, like, brown. It’s like, oh, I’m done. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:05

    You know,
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:05

    like, there’s no like, you just you gotta and, like, I don’t know when the moment was when they
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:10

    They don’t have a timer on them dings so that you can know the avocados already.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:14

    But I mean, like, at some point, when was the right when was it right for Trump to be held accountable. I would like to know from these people, like, when was the exact moment? And I think that what happens is is they all just sort of trade off, like, there’s a quadrant that argues that at the time was was back for impeachment, and then there’s another quadrant that’s like, no. It’s in the future. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:33

    There’s a lot of people now who it’s like in the future, it’s the voter should decide. Yes. Even even your buddy Mike Pence says this. Like, I don’t think the DOJ should be doing this. I think that, this is for the voters to litigate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:46

    Okay. Well, I mean, I will say that of the people who are now saying you can’t do it because the proper vehicle for this was impeachment, I sure don’t remember any of them being super pro impeachment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:00

    Sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:01

    Mean, this is maybe at the time they kept their mouths shut about the criminal process. They didn’t take them to Connell line, but I sure fudge. Don’t remember them being out there saying, we must convict him. The time is now. We can’t wait for the future in criminal I don’t remember that from many people on the right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:20

    Yeah. There’s a there’s, like, people here and there, like, Noah Rothman wrote a dissent over at National. Yeah. Good for Noah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:29

    He’s my buddy, Mike Pence is my buddy. I’ve never met my pets. I actually know Noah. Alright. Let you know what?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:36

    Let’s just get into the Mike Pence thing. I have a I I have a peace forthcoming in another publication about Mike Pence.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:47

    Does it start with an a?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:48

    And it’s it it may start with a. This is where the Atlantic is where we all secretly, are very proud to be published in. Yes. It is. And I will Hi, boy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:01

    I love the editing. I love being inside the editing process at other magazines. Because for me, it’s like seeing how other people live because, like, you know, like, we have the editing process here. It is full of quirks and how style things And getting to see the quirks at other publications, it just tickles me. And, I I don’t wanna reveal too much, but my editor who is lovely in a very, very good editor.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:30

    Noted to me she changed a word, and she said, I I couldn’t tell you why, but for some reason, the Atlantic does not like this word. And so we never use it. And I laughed because that is true about several words, the Bulwark —
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:44

    Oh, yeah. — which What are what are hard those fly words?
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:48

    For instance, countless. Countless. There there is. There there are situations in which I will permit the use of the word countless. If the thing you are talking about is infinite, and therefore cannot be counted, then you could say it was countless.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:10

    But if you’re talking about, like, the countless times, Donald Trump has said racist. No. That could be counted. We may not want to count it because it could take a really long time. And no and maybe the answer is nobody ever is going to sit and actually count this thing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:24

    But if it is theoretically capable of being counted, then it is not countless.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:29

    This is so fun. I wanna turn over
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:31

    the entire podcast to listening to you talk about words, we don’t let people use and why. Here’s a good one, from the New Yorker, from the old days. I believe this is from Wallace Sean’s New Yorker. Mister Sean. Will Saletan, Wallace Sean is his son, the actor.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:47

    Do you know this that Wallace Sean, the actor, from all the
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:51

    What’s he?
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:52

    So in you will know most from the Princess bride where he’s Visini. You know? Oh, yeah. But he’s in all the Christopher Guest movies and, character actor was on Mark and Mitty, if I remember correctly. He’s the son of Will Saletan, who was the the longest term editor ever of the New Yorker.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:11

    How funny is that? Anyway, I believe it was when William Sean’s New Yorker, they were the word famous was verboten. Because if if somebody was famous, then there was a no they
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:24

    were famous.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:24

    You do not need to describe them as having fame it was it was like, like, a mini shrimp. Right? Like, no. It’s a shrimp. It’s mini.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:33

    And so if somebody’s famous, You don’t need to you can’t say, like, you know, the famous the famous actress. No. If she’s famous, then everybody knows, and she’s just the actress.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:42

    Mhmm. Great. That makes a
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:44

    lot of sense. Little things like that. So, anyway, that piece will probably come out next week. And, it’s about how Mike Pence’s basically the never trumper of our dreams. And, I will know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:59

    I’m gonna hate this piece so much. You know, the I I was divvying this out. I was actually counting this up the other day. The number of the percentage of my if you do a pie pie chart of my written output. The slice of the pie, which is written expressly for you, It’s very large.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:20

    Just like me writing for you. He is now selling a t shirt in his merch store that says to honest. Add. He’s leaning into it. He’s not gonna make the debate stage.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:35

    He is not gonna make the debate stage. But key, I if you look at all of the statements after the indictment, Penses was the strongest. Sure. It’s shit way better than Will Hurds. Better than Chris Christie’s as good as Aces?
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:52

    I mean, it Pence has been really good on this stuff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:55

    He has been listen, I am not trying to take away from the fact that Mike Pence has been good about specifically saying that what Donald Trump did that day was wrong. I think his statement didn’t actually name Donald Trump. It just said if one, if a person puts themselves above the constitution,
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:12

    said the indictment is a reminder that. I mean, so he is The Trump is implied.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:16

    I understand the Trump is implied. I just, you know, really
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:19

    implied, not like hand wavy gauged imply, but you don’t have to imply by a context. You can imply simply by the words in the tweet. This is a very hair mix distinction. I understand that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:29

    The thing is is so, Mike Pence did the this is the debate here is like, yes, Mike Pence did the right thing. Yes, Mike Pence is behaving better. Than the others, but we’re talking about, like, a not a low bar, like, a bar that’s, like, sunk into the ground and, like, lives ten feet underground. Like, he’s just saying a thing that is true, and I don’t know how much credit. I mean, I do give him credit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:56

    I’m closer to you than I am to people who, like, don’t wanna give him any credit. But Mike Pence also created a lot of permission structures for Donald Trump. And I would say, like, he is not going I I Chris Christie is doing way more to go right at Donald Trump right now, than Mike Pence is. Mike Pence still equivocates a lot. He’s the one who’s saying it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:16

    We should leave it to the voters, basically saying he went this is like the kind of thing about Mike Pence that makes me angry and why I won’t give him points. He is he’s all over this indictment. Right? Like, he is the one who gave them a ton of this information. And then he’s basically saying He’s the narc.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:31

    He’s the narc, and then he’s like, but the people should decide. Like, he plays both sides in a way that I find galling for the person because some of it is like, Mike Pence have some freaking self respect. They want to murder you. Just drop truth bombs. Don’t drop truth
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:51

    nuggets. What does it mean if the people decide wrong? Right? Mike Pence, and You know? The people want to kill him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:58

    And the people are gonna decide that they’re just like Mike Pence. And by Mike Pence’s own light, doesn’t that mean that the people have poor judgment? Right? Right? I mean, Mike Pence is running because he thinks he’s the best guy for the job, and he’s gonna get point two percent of the vote.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:14

    And that’s the people deciding. So Mike Pence clearly must not think the people are all that bright. Right? I mean, I
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:20

    Or my parents hate himself.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:22

    Is Mike Pence gonna be in the doc? Like, is he is he gonna be in the witness stand there?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:27

    I don’t know. I will say one thing has started to that I I think I hadn’t, like, groked sufficiently.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:35

    I love
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:35

    the idea of this is the idea of this trial. The idea of this trial unlike the other ones makes me happy from the, like, need for accountability standpoint, the idea of them getting them on the stand, and also the idea that it would take place. I don’t know. I I haven’t quite sorted through how I’m
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:57

    gonna feel. Honest, I think.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:59

    Yeah. Right. They wouldn’t like cameras in the courts. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:01

    I believe I it would require, like, a change to something or another understand, which probably won’t happen. So there won’t be cameras in the courts. It’ll be, you know, you can’t listen to it. You’ll just be relying on the accounts of reporters, and, it’ll be choose your own adventure. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:20

    Everybody listens to News Max will say, well, I don’t believe that that thing from the AP reporter. Sure. That’s a lie. There was no evidence in there. Rudy didn’t say that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:34

    I don’t know, though.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:34

    A lot
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:34

    of people might go down in this one. I think we’re I know I feel this way. The on slot of indictments, and then, like, the superseding superstitiousness, whatever. As more of that happens, it begin it begins You’re like, I almost wish we just had one indictment and it was this one. Like, the more of them that there are, I it’s not that I just in my fantasy world, where things were easier for people to sort through.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:05

    I mean, I was just on every time I talk to these voters, like, they can’t tell these incitements apart. And this one is the most serious, and it has there’s just I mean, we the whole January sixth thing, how much stuff there is to sort through. I mean, the trial I bet would be so long. Like, will Rudy have to take the stand? Will he turn on Trump to save his butt?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:23

    Well, is Jenna Ellis one of the lawyers? You know, Sydney Powell.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:30

    Jeffrey Clark.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:30

    Jeffrey Clark.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:31

    Jeffrey Bulwark? Anybody on
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:32

    the same thing. Runs DOJ. If Donald Trump wins again.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:35

    Hundred percent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:36

    Hundred percent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:37

    Hundred percent. I I I don’t know. I mean, I I I actually am glad we have all of them. I think it’s good, especially because the documents is such an open and shut case. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:50

    Like, I don’t see I mean, the best defense Trump has on the documents is of course, he’s guilty, but everybody’s guilty of this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:00

    Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:00

    But, I mean, that’s the best defense there is for him, because he’s just dead to rights on it. If the I don’t know, man. It’s bad, but also none of this will happen till after we are mean, trump will be the nominee before we have things in motion in these trials. And maybe here’s here’s another question. Let’s pretend we get, could you what is the wisdom of scheduling a trial?
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:32

    For some time between June, which is like we’re getting ramped up for the conventions and November of twenty twenty four. Do you want to try them?
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:43

    Is that what you said?
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:44

    Yeah. Is that is that a wise thing to do to schedule it? Is it unwise have a two tier system of justice, which would not schedule it just because the guy might be present. Right? Wouldn’t — Yep.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:53

    — wouldn’t delaying the trial so that the people could decide, wouldn’t that be a two tiered system of justice? I don’t don’t know the answers to these questions, and there are no good answers. Right? Again, we’re you’re not picking like, oh, well, this answer is good and this answer is bad. Both of these answers are leading to terrible outcomes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:09

    Which do we think might be less terrible? Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:14

    I think trying him is the less terrible. But I also so I go back and forth on this, because I do sometimes if I get if you get me in the head space of it just feels so icky to put a like, if you take Donald Trump out of it and like almost the facts of the case and you just told me blindly that the Department of Justice from the current administration was prosecuting the president from the last administration that they were gonna hold and that they were gonna have a rematch election and they were gonna hold the trial right before the election. I would be really skeeved out by that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:44

    It sounds like Argentina.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:45

    It does. It sounds like not a thing we should do here. On the flip side, like, because we all watched the crimes take place in real time, the fact that there has been no accountability also doesn’t feel like America Right? Did you feel like we should just
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:02

    we Banana Republic, if you do, Banana Republic, if you don’t. And there’s no way to know how each choice affects voters. Yeah. That’s the other thing. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:16

    I mean, anybody who thinks that you could say, like, oh, it would only help Trump to hold the trial, but that’s a guess. It’s just a it’s like a coin flip guess. You don’t know that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:27

    I’m not
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:27

    sure if
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:27

    helps him. I think it hurts him personally.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:29

    Maybe. But I’m saying, like, I I think it’s, like, a fifty fifty each way. Right? Who knows? Maybe it helps him a little.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:35

    Maybe it hurts him a little. Maybe it I don’t know, man. I again, I just don’t If Joe Biden is just, like, out there presenting and Trump is, like, on trial for all these I just don’t understand how it’s a close election, but, of course, it will be. Because this is the world we live in, and these are the people we live with. These are our neighbors, our citizen, fellow citizens, are the people we love and cherish,
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:58

    That’s true, but you can see that one of the reasons that I this this will be a struggle is everybody will everybody on the right will make this argument that what happens in Banana Republics. Joe Biden is prosecuting his biggest political rival. And in this context, actually, I can talk myself out of it helping. Trump. Because in this context, everybody will be watching a trial that will be Biden Biden’s DOJ prosecuting Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:27

    The person he’s running against currently, and that will not sit well with a lot of Americans for perfectly legitimate reasons.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:34

    Sure. I mean, legitimate reasons that are only legitimate if you haven’t thought about it for five seconds. It’s like it’s not by DOJ. It’s a special council, the special councils independent. I’m just
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:44

    saying that’ll land.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:46

    Yeah. No. I can see it land. But, also, it won’t it won’t, it won’t hurt that, well, whatever. I it’s all very hard to understand.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:01

    There. I I guess I’ll just leave it at that. It’s it’s and it’s terrible. And the the extent to which like, the people who do know better and who don’t have to think about it for five seconds, like the Wall Street Journal editorial page are gonna muddy the waters. Instead of just clearly saying what the truth is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:20

    Yeah. You know who’s actually clearly saying what the truth is is Bill Barr. Yeah. Like, this he’s, like, this is a good indictment. This is strong.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:26

    No reason I shouldn’t move forward with it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:28

    This is what I’m saying. So, you know, like, you may say, like, well, your median, you know, rural or with a high school education can’t tell the difference. But, you know, your your country club dentist could tell the difference. And if the Will Saletan Journal editorial page, instead of muddying the water and saying, like, oh, it’s like we’re in Argentina, just laid out the the facts of things, then maybe that would affect. It is Republican Triangle.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:50

    I wanted to talk here’s something I wanna talk to you about. I, I discovered a podcast called behind the bastards. Which, our friend Amanda Carpenter turned me on to. And it is a long form podcast, which does biographies of, little known awful awful people from history. And so would it, like, take a historical figure who we don’t know much about who was just a terrible, terrible person and does, like, two hours worth of like, biography of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:26

    Absolutely engrossing. I cannot I cannot possibly recommend it enough. But the, the the one I’m listening to now is a biography of Julius Striker who was a Nazi. He has the distinction of being the only Nazi who was executed at Nuremberg in the Nuremberg trials, who was not a member of the government or, like, involved in any soldiering or stuff like that. What he was was, he was the founder and editor of the daily, strummer.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:04

    And so he ran the newspaper, which empowered all this. And he was he was executed because he was being held responsible for basically helping whip up the public sentiment, which led to the Holocaust. And as I am listening to this biography. One of the things that the host, Robert Evans, is really great. One of the arguments he makes is that in Weimar Germany, there were an unbelievable number of newspapers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:38

    And the newspapers were really they weren’t like the New York Times. They’re more like pamphlets. And there were thousands and thousands of them, and they were essentially social media. Right? Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:51

    The newspaper would be, like, the function of a single personality or a couple personalities, and they would push their own agendas, and they were They were not, like, really news. They were just opinion. And, the hottest ones were rewarded. And So it it was like a slow motion version of Twitter. And part of as he Robert Evans sort of does a biography of of Streker.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:21

    He this it is like watching the the triangle of doom happening your triangle of doom, like, in slow motion in another context. And it’s fascinating to me because, not because, like, hey, we’re living in Weimar, Germany. Although, Like, you know, that’s not the craziest stretch I’ve ever heard, but just because of, like, the dynamic with the problem between the elites and the media and the people is maybe an eternal one and one that we haven’t really figured out how to counter yet as a society. Because maybe there is no counter to it. Like, maybe the triangle of doom is a permanent feature of anything, any place, any society that is trying to be a liberal democracy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:15

    I like that. Hey, again. It’s JBL. The conversation goes on from there. If you wanna hear the rest of the show, head on over to Bulwark Plus and subscribe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:24

    We’d love to have you.
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