Months later, President Pence used to tell Zelensky that US aid was still held back while calling for more aggressive measures against corruption. At that time – following Trump's phone call with Zelenksy on July 25 – Ukrainians likely understood that corruption measures should include the investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden forced to avail Trump
officials to persist near Pence not knowing of Trump's efforts to protect Zelensky for damaging information about Biden and his son, who had served on the board of an obscure Ukrainian gas company when his father oversaw the US, did not know policy towards Ukraine.
Pence's activities took place under various aspects of the president's hidden agenda. Among them was the sudden removal of the US Ambassador to Kiev; the visible efforts of the President's lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to engage in relations between the US and Ukraine; In addition, the White House has already raised alerts about Trump's behavior prior to the appearance of an extraordinary whistleblower report.
Perhaps most importantly, one of Pence's top advisers called on July 25 and the Vice President should have access to it. The minutes were released by officials within hours.
Trump's use of Pence is part of a wider pattern in which he employs both the executive and high-level officials in his administration to advance his personal or political interests ̵
1; even in cases where these subordinates do not perform to know that another agenda is in play.
Officials near Pence claim that he traveled to Warsaw for a meeting with Zelensky on September 1, probably without having read or at least fully registered the Trump's call of July 25, the leader of Ukraine.
White House officials said that Pence would likely have received detailed records of the president's call in his office efing book on July 26. The five-page document should also have been part of the informational materials that he took to prepare for the meeting in Warsaw, according to officials who talked about internal affairs on the condition of anonymity.
] But officials said Pence and his staff did not know the White House call had sounded the alarm – though his national security advisor, Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, had been monitoring him. It is also unclear whether Pence did not read or read the White House report on the call in his report booklet and found it inconspicuous.
A pence adjutant denied the idea that the vice president was ill-prepared to meet with Zelensky, pointing out the possible outcome – that the Trump administration eventually released the aid – as a sign of a productive meeting. The White House law firm had not informed the Vice President's office of the existence of the whistleblower complaint until the day before its release, the adjutant added. At his meeting with Zelensky, Pence conveyed the news that hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine would not be released as the country's efforts to fight corruption were left behind. He also stressed Trump's disappointment that he felt that the European Union was not doing enough to help out. One participant in the meeting said Zelensky was "downcast" by the news, while a second participant called the meeting "cordial" and Zelensky an understanding of US concerns.
At that time, the Ukrainian president had already spoken with Trump and was familiar with the demands of the President. Pence did not mention Biden or the dormant probe of Burisma, the company his son served as a board member. However, former officials said that Pence's emphasis on corruption would probably have been interpreted by Zelensky as a "codex" on this issue, regardless of whether the vice president intended it or not.
A high-ranking pence employee denied the allegation that the vice president was delivering inappropriate or encrypted news from the president.
"The President repeatedly raised concerns about corruption and lack of burden on European partners, which is why Zelensky was receptive to these messages after an anti-corruption campaign," said Marc Short, Pence Chief of Staff. "The vice president, as you reported, reported to the president after meeting and releasing the help."
Pence often seems to be the the last one to be aware of major problems or scandals – a phenomenon that temporarily represents the vice president as out of the loop. But it also helps protect him from controversy in the White House.
Pence's staff wondered if he should head a delegation to attend Zelensky's inauguration in May. This was an important vote of confidence in the new Ukrainian president, whose nation sees the United States as a bulwark against Russian aggression. Russia has annexed the Crimea, part of Ukraine, and continues to fuel a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The date of the inauguration had been in flux, the White House had still not sent an advance staff and intelligence service to Ukraine, and no visit had been officially confirmed when President Pence had instructed officials not to attend. A current and former official confirmed Trump's instructions, which were also mentioned in the Whistleblower report.
"We are not commenting on any talks between the President and the Vice President," Short said At the inauguration on May 20, Pence attended a Trump campaign meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, and made an official trip to Canada in the same month.
A high-ranking government official said Pence was not one of the few White House officials and the State Department overheard Trump's July 25 phone call with Zelensky, which is a key element of the whistleblower report and impeachment investigation.
In the phone call, Trump asked for a "favor" and urged Zelensky to work with the lawyer. General William P. Barr is looking for compromising information about Hunter Biden. Without proof, Trump claimed that Joe Biden had used his influence as Vice President in 2016 to end an investigation of the gas company and his son.
A few weeks before the call Trump had ordered the suspension of all military security support for Ukraine.
Kellogg, Pence's chief national security consultant, listened to the call from the Situation Room, which was the usual practice. The White House lawyers, alarmed by the appeal, have quickly moved from a widely used internal computer network to one reserved for them but did not see it as unusual or showed the Vice President concerns over codeword-level records of covert CIA action programs and other highly classified material.
The whistleblower, a CIA officer who learned of the appeal from dismayed White House officials, quickly went behind the scenes to assemble material from multiple sources and prepare a complaint.
In early September, Trump made a hurricane in Florida on a trip to Poland, where he was to attend a World War II memorial service and meet with Zelensky to discuss the frozen US aid. Pence had been ordered to "seize" the Ukrainian head of state and tell him that the government would release the aid first If there is assurance that Zelensky is committed to fighting corruption The meeting with Zelensky in Warsaw on September 1, Pence, refused to answer a reporter's question as to whether the Trump administration of Ukraine would still be giving the security assistance ,
"We will continue to speak with the Ukrainian people about their security, on territorial integrity," he replied.
Zelensky replied that his government was ready to "conquer corruption."
When the meeting began, Pence accused the EU of not providing Ukraine with more security assistance, as Trump did on July 25, and reaffirmed the government's attitude that Zelensky must do more to fight corruption.
When Zelensky asked for help, Pence said the government was still "watching," a US official said.
At a next day's press conference, Pence reiterated "the government's concerns over corruption issues." "And he was confident that Zelensky's Tackle the problem.
Returning to Washington, Pence told Trump that Zelensky had a "good heart" and was "good against corruption and against the oligarchs". Said a US official. The vice president was confident that Zelensky seemed to surround himself with "good people," two officials said, encouraging Trump to release the aid.
A few weeks later – under pressure from Democrats and Republicans in Congress who saw the help Trump gave in and released the help for Ukraine. Pence and Zelensky again spoke on September 18 in a call US officials described as fleeting.
Zelensky thanked for the help, and Pence wished him well in his impending meeting with Trump at the United Nations. Later that evening, the Post reported for the first time that the complaint about whistleblowers held back by Congress was about Trump and a conversation with a foreign leader.