The White House is pulling out all the stops to attempt to get around House Democrats’ impeachment probe targeting President Donald Trump. Now, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has asked to join a lawsuit demanding a ruling on whether or not top Trump advisers really have to comply with Congressional subpoenas. The lawsuit was already in place thanks to former national security official Charles Kupperman, who House Democrats had subpoenaed and who subsequently declined to appear to Congress. This past week, impeachment investigators dropped their Kupperman subpoena and issued one for Mulvaney.
His lawyers William Pittard and Christopher Muha state:
‘The question whether the President’s authority must give way in the face of a congressional subpoena—the determination Mr. Kupperman has asked this Court to make –is central to the question whether the House may take adverse action against Mr. Mulvaney, as threatened. For that reason, Mr. Mulvaney seeks to intervene here.’
House Dems have already proven undeterred by the Trump team’s obstruction. POLITICO notes that their withdrawal of their subpoena for Kupperman — which removed the active dispute his original complaint was based upon — “was widely seen as an attempt… to signal that the impeachment inquiry would roll forward without the testimony of top Trump aides if they declined to appear.”
As Mulvaney’s lawyers indicate, Trump has insisted that no one in the White House comply with House Dems’ inquiry, although a selection of currently serving officials have already testified anyway. That list includes top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor, National Security Council (NSC) official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and other current and former officials.
Mulvaney has a heightened personal liability in the situation. He’s been revealed to have helped orchestrate the Trump team’s scheme to exchange a summit in D.C. including Ukrainian leaders and the Trump team for potentially damaging intel on the Bidens. Just this week, a transcript of private testimony from Vindman that House Dems released revealed the official describing Mulvaney as also working to exchange already approved military aid for the country for that Biden dirt.
Mulvaney is definitely not the only top Trump associate to refuse to appear when demanded. Recent high-profile no-shows include outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who participated in developing the Trump administration’s shadow foreign policy for Ukraine. Other demanded appearances include Perry’s former chief of staff Brian McCormack and top NSC lawyer John Eisenberg, who repeatedly received — and rebuffed — concerns about the Trump administration’s Ukraine shakedown. He even told Vindman to keep quiet about what he knew.
In the face of all these facts, Trump and his allies have had to repeatedly resort to attacking the impeachment process itself rather than engaging on more substantive efforts. In the early days, the GOP raised a storm of criticism over the privacy of hearings and lack of a formal full House vote, and now that Democrats have held a full House vote and are preparing public hearings, they say the whole inquiry is a sham and there actually shouldn’t be public hearings. You can’t make this stuff up!