On July 14, 2016, reporters leaked information that Donald Trump would nominate Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. According to many reports, Trump was not certain about his pick. Later that day, Trump called New Jersey governor Chris Christie to ask whether he would be willing to be his running mate. Trump told Christie to “stay by your phone” in anticipation of his announcement the following day. Trump also called Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner that night to discuss whether he could reverse the decision on Pence. Eventually, Trump called Christie on the morning of July 15 and told him, “They’re telling me I have to pick [Pence]. It’s central casting. He looks like a Vice-President.” Source1 Source2 Trump officially announced Pence as running mate on July 15.
Trump told Christie he’s too fat to be Vice President!?!?
I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
On November 11, 2016, 3 days after the election, Donald Trump replaced Chris Christie with Mike Pence as leader of his transition team. Pence’s team immediately threw out 30 binders of research and resumes gathered by Christie’s team, and began appointing officials tied to the politically active Koch brothers. Christie had excluded Michael Flynn from his lists of candidates for official appointments, and even warned Trump not to hire Flynn, viewing him as too risky. But after Pence replaced Christie, it does not appear Pence expressed any objections to the campaign about Flynn.
On November 18, 2016, Trump transition team leader Mike Pence received a letter from Democratic representative Elijah Cummings warning Pence about Michael Flynn’s questionable ethics, including Flynn’s failure to disclose his paid lobbying work for Turkey. On March 9, 2017, Mike Pence claimed that that day was the first he had ever heard about Michael Flynn being a foreign agent of Turkey and failing to disclose this foreign agency in security clearance forms. Source In response, Cummings published an email he received from Pence’s transition team acknowledging receipt of the letter and promising to review it carefully. Source
— House OversightDems (@OversightDems) May 19, 2017
On January 4, 2017, weeks before Trump’s inauguration, Michael Flynn disclosed to President-elect Trump’s transition team, lead by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey without registering as a foreign agent, as required by law. Source1 Source2 In January 2017, before Trump’s inauguration, Michael Flynn’s attorneys also informed incoming White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn might need to register as a foreign agent. After Trump’s inauguration, Flynn’s attorneys also told another member of the White House legal team. Source
On January 15, 2017, on the television news program Face the Nation, Mike Pence stated that he had spoken personally with Michael Flynn, and that Flynn told him that December telephone conversations he had conducted with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak were limited to exchanging good Christmas wishes, and condolences in relation to a recent plane crash. Pence added, “what I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.” Transcript
Following FBI Directory James Comey’s public testimony about his investigation into Russian interference in the US election, where Comey confirmed that the FBI was looking into whether the Trump campaign acted in collusion with Russia, Trump held a meeting with Mike Pence, White House Counsel Donald McGahn, and Jared Kushner to discuss firing Comey. All attendees told Trump they generally backed firing Comey. Source
On May 10, 2017, after Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Vice President Mike Pence publicly stated that Comey’s firing had nothing to do with the Russia investigation, and that Trump only fired Comey based on the Justice Department’s recommendation. Source Trump would almost immediately contradict Pence, saying on NBC, “I was going to fire Comey — my decision… I was going to fire regardless of the recommendation [of the Justice Department]… In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” Source