House impeachment investigators want to have a chat with acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
In a letter dated Tuesday, Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff and Carolyn Maloney request Mick appear for a deposition on Friday. He’ll almost surely refuse.
Mulvaney has emerged as a central figure in lawmakers’ probe of the Ukraine affair and that scrutiny intensified following Mick’s bungled attempt to field questions about the impeachment inquiry during a press conference last month.
Watch the clip: ‘That’s Why We Held Up The Money‘
“[President Trump] mentioned to me in the past… the corruption related to the DNC server – absolutely, no question about that”, Mick said at a briefing on October 17. “That’s it, that’s why we held up the money”.
Hours later, he attempted to walk that back, but it was far too late. He had effectively admitted to a quid pro quo whereby the administration was withholding some $400 million in military aid to Ukraine pending a public commitment by Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a conspiracy theory about Democratic interference in the 2016 election.
“Based on evidence gathered in the impeachment inquiry and public reporting, we believe that you possess substantial first-hand knowledge and information relevant to the House’s impeachment inquiry”, the letter to Mulvaney reads. “Specifically, the investigation has revealed that you may have been directly involved in an effort orchestrated by President Trump to, his personal agent, Rudy Giuliani, and others to withhold a coveted White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance”.
The letter cites John Bolton’s apparent allusion to the pressure campaign on Zelensky as a “drug deal”. “I am not part of whatever drug deal [Gordon] Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up”, Bolton reportedly instructed Fiona Hill to tell the head attorney for the National Security Council earlier this year, as it became clear that the EU ambassador (and Trump donor) along with Giuliani and Mulvaney were knee-deep in a clandestine effort to compel a foreign government to interfere with the 2020 US election.
Engel, Schiff and Maloney also cite the unfortunate press conference mentioned above.
“You admitted publicly that President Trump ordered the hold on Ukraine security assistance to further the President’s own person, political interests”, the lawmakers remind Mulvaney.
“Despite your subsequent attempts to walk-back this clear admission, your statements to the American public on October 17 were nothing less than a televised confession”, they add.
Trump is said to be actively pondering replacements for Mick, who has never recieved the nod to permanently replace John Kelly.
At an event hosted by the Washington Examiner late last month, Kelly said he warned the president not to hire a “yes man” like Mulvaney. “Don’t hire someone that will just nod and say, ‘That’s a great idea Mr. President.’ Because you will be impeached”, Kelly claims to have told Trump.
Mick does not hold up well under questioning, so one imagines any deposition wouldn’t go well.