Nov 8, 2019

Scoop: House committees subpoena Mick Mulvaney

White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

The House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine issued a subpoena Thursday night for acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to testify on Friday morning as part of their impeachment inquiry, two sources familiar tell Axios.

Why it matters: Mulvaney is the highest-ranking White House official to be subpoenaed yet, and the midnight-hour move suggests the committees are reaching into the final phase of their private investigation as they prepare to take their inquiry public next week.

  • The committees first subpoenaed Mulvaney to turn over documents in October, but subpoenaing him to appear for a hearing is a further escalation, and signals the committees are determined to hear him describe firsthand his role in the Ukraine saga.

Background: Several current and former Trump administration officials have told House investigators that Mulvaney carried out Trump’s directive to suspend $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine.

  • An official working on the impeachment inquiry, emphasized Mulvaney's Oct. 17 press briefing, during which he said the Trump administration froze military aid to pressure Ukraine to open a political investigation, as a reason for the subpoena. Mulvaney later walked those comments back.
  • "Other testimony during this inquiry also has indicated that Mr. Mulvaney could shed additional light on the President’s abuse of the power of his office for his personal gain," the official added. 

The bottom line: It’s likely that Trump will exert executive privilege over his conversations with Mulvaney and argue that he has absolute immunity from complying with Congress’ requests — as he has done with other White House officials, such as Mulvaney aide Rob Blair and former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman.

  • Both Blair and Kupperman are waiting for the courts to determine whether they should comply with congressional subpoenas or White House orders blocking them from appearing.
  • The official working on the inquiry told Axios that Mulvaney "has the opportunity to uphold his oath to the nation and constitution by testifying tomorrow. We hope Mr. Mulvaney does not hide behind the President’s ongoing efforts to conceal the truth obstruct our investigation."

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Mulvaney fails to comply with House subpoena

Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney failed to comply Friday with a subpoena ordering his testimony before the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine, according to a House official working on the impeachment inquiry.

Where it stands: Mulvaney's outside counsel said that he "had been directed by the White House not to comply with the duly authorized subpoena and asserted 'absolute immunity,'" per the official.

Go deeperArrowNov 8, 2019

Judge to consider Mulvaney request to join suit naming Trump as defendant

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney speaks during an October briefing at the White House. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing for Monday on Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's request to join a pending lawsuit naming President Trump and congressional leaders as defendants, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Mulvaney asked late Friday to join former Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman's suit after he failed to comply with a subpoena ordering his testimony before the House committees investigating Trump and Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowNov 10, 2019

Mulvaney denies Fiona Hill testimony tying him to Ukraine scheme

Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A lawyer for White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney released a statement Thursday casting doubt on the testimony of former top Russia adviser Fiona Hill, who told investigators that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland had a "deal" with Mulvaney to engage in a quid pro quo with Ukraine using a coveted White House visit.

Why it matters: Sondland testified that he kept Mulvaney and a number of other top administration officials apprised of his efforts to push Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election. Mulvaney himself admitted at a press conference in October that Trump conditioned military assistance to Ukraine on the announcement of the 2016 investigation, before later walking it back.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019