Yet another official from Pence-led transition team gets indicted


Mike Pence led the Trump transition team, which just had another member indicted for federal crimes.

Another member of Trump's presidential transition team, headed by Mike Pence, has been charged with a federal crime.

Bijan Kian has been charged with illegally acting as an agent of a foreign government and with conspiracy. The indictment says Kian "conspired covertly and unlawfully to influence U.S. politicians and public opinion."

Kian was part of the Trump transition team, specifically the national security transition team alongside Michael Flynn. CBS News noted that Kian's role "offered influence in the selection of intelligence agency candidates and access to internal discussions of U.S. national security policy."

Mike Pence was in charge of the transition team that both Kian and Flynn served on. The indictment shows that Pence was involved with yet another figure under a criminal cloud.

Pence has tried to distance himself from the Trump's administration's corruption and the investigations it has triggered.  But where corruption has been allowed to flourish under Trump, Pence has been nearby, and the Kian case once again shows his involvement.

The revelations of Kian's conduct show that along with Flynn, unsavory characters with ties to foreign powers were given influence over sensitive national security staffing and issues.

Kian ran a lobbying firm with Michael Flynn, who was part of Trump's campaign and later served as his national security adviser. The firm was attempting to push for the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. (The Turkish government, headed by dictator Tayyip Erdogan, has accused Gulen of attempting a coup.)

When Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, part of his plea included admitting to his role in the lobbying plot on behalf of elements within the Turkish government. Pence was aware of Flynn's deceptions in real time, yet did nothing to prevent him from getting access to some of America's most closely held national security secrets.

Kian's indictment is more evidence of Pence's entanglement in the Trump administration's scandals and the investigations they have prompted.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.