Nov 21, 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.

The big picture: Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have all released statements this week disputing elements of certain testimonies in the impeachment hearings. All three have been asked to cooperate in the House's inquiry, but none have complied.

What they're saying:

"Fiona Hill’s testimony is riddled with speculation and guesses about any role that Mr. Mulvaney played with anything related to Ukraine. She bases much of her testimony about him on things allegedly heard from unnamed staffers, guards in the West Wing, and “many people.” The fact is that Ms. Hill has never met Mr. Mulvaney other than in passing, and has never discussed anything with him regarding Ukraine. We have no idea why Ms. Hill believes Mr. Mulvaney was so heavily involved, especially in light of Ambassador Sondland’s contrary testimony that he only spoke very infrequently to Mr. Mulvaney and had zero substantive conversations with him about Ukraine. This inquiry continues to be a sham. No court in this country would give any weight to testimony about Mr. Mulvaney as speculative as Ms. Hill’s. Neither should Congress or the public."
— Mulvaney attorney Bob Driscoll

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Report: WH review finds Mulvaney sought to justify blocking Ukraine aid

Mick Mulvaney. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

A confidential internal review found White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney asked budget office officials for an "after-the-fact justification" for withholding aid to Ukraine, the Washington Post first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: The issue of blocking almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine is central to the impeachment inquiry, as House investigators examine allegations that President Trump ordered the move to press for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019

Why the missing testimony from the impeachment inquiry matters

As impeachment moves into its next phase, House Democrats lack testimony from major players in the Trump administration about allegations that the president withheld military aid and a coveted White House meeting to pressure Ukraine into investigating his domestic political rivals.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Hill says she told Sondland that Ukraine policy was "all going to blow up"

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia expert, testified during Thursday's impeachment hearing that she told EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland earlier this year that the Trump administration's policy on Ukraine was "all going to blow up."

The big picture: Hill illustrated a dual-track policy that "diverged" seemingly at Trump's direction. According to her testimony, Sondland claimed to be reporting directly to the president and other senior White House officials to pursue a "domestic political errand" — investigations linked to the Biden family's business dealings in Ukraine — while National Security Council staff focused on traditional foreign policy.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019