(WASHINGTON) — Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has stood up Democrats in their impeachment inquiry, skipping his 9 a.m. deposition as Democrats wrap up closed-door interviews and move into a public phase of the investigation.
Democrats subpoenaed Mulvaney late Thursday as the White House signaled that he wouldn’t appear. The White House has instructed its officials not to comply with the investigation, which is looking at President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
An official working on the inquiry said that Mulvaney’s lawyer informed the committees leading the impeachment probe one minute before the deposition was supposed to start that Mulvaney had been directed not to comply with the subpoena. The person said Mulvaney’s lawyer said he has “absolute immunity,” a claim that Democrats have challenged in court for other administration witnesses.
The Democrats subpoenaed Mulvaney because other testimony indicated he “could shed additional light on the president’s abuse of the power of his office for his personal gain,” according to the person, who declined to be identified in order to discuss the confidential interview.
Mulvaney said in a news conference last month that the Trump administration’s decision to hold up military aid was linked to Trump’s demand for the investigations. He later walked back his remarks, but Democrats said that was tantamount to a confession and have cited it as evidence in their inquiry.
Trump said Friday morning that he thought Mulvaney would “do great” and “I’d love to have him go up,” but that he didn’t want to validate what he calls a “corrupt” investigation.
“I don’t want to give credibility to a corrupt witch hunt,” Trump told reporters.
Mulvaney’s defiance came after former national security adviser John Bolton also failed to appear for an interview Thursday. Democrats say they will use the no-shows as evidence of the president’s obstruction of Congress.
Even though some of the most high-profile witnesses have failed to appear — Energy Secretary Rick Perry also declined to show up this week — Democrats have indicated they think they already have ample testimony about Trump’s conduct on Ukraine. A slew of current and former officials from the State Department and White House have appeared over the last several weeks and largely corroborated the same narrative — that Trump had delegated his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to guide U.S.-Ukraine policy and that the two men were focused on pressuring Ukraine as the administration withheld military aid from the country.
One Democratic member of …read more
Source:: Time – Politics