House Democrats subpoena Mick Mulvaney in impeachment probe

Katie Flaherty
White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 17, 2019.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to testify Friday as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, an official working on the probe told NBC News.

Mulvaney, one of the highest-ranking officials subpoenaed in the inquiry to date, is expected to be a no-show, falling in line with several other officials who were ordered by the president not to cooperate with the investigation.

During a press conference last month, Mulvaney admitted that the president withheld vital military aid to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations that would benefit the president's personal and political interests, an official working on the impeachment inquiry said. He has since walked back the televised statement.

When asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl if he was describing a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Mulvaney replied, "We do that all the time with foreign policy," citing the example that the U.S. held up money to three Central American countries to convince them to change their immigration policies.

"Get over it," Mulvaney said. "There's going to be political influence in foreign policy."

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Despite the public admission and subsequent walk-back, other testimony during the inquiry has indicated Mulvaney could shed additional light on further abuse of power by the president, the official added. Investigators are wrapping up the private interviews as they prepare to start public hearings next week.

Democrats scheduled 13 witnesses to testify behind closed doors this week but so far only two people ― Jennifer Williams, special adviser to Europe and Russia to Vice President Mike Pence and another State Department employee, David Hale ― have shown up.

Democrats also requested interviews from two other high-level Trump administration witnesses, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Perry did not show up for his Wednesday interview. Following suit, Bolton also failed to appear Thursday for closed-door testimony, which his lawyer quickly qualified as being voluntary.

Bolton, who was fired by Trump in September, has been named in prior testimonies by other officials, who according to public transcripts and reports from inside the room, describe Bolton as being disturbed by Trump and his associates pushing to get Ukraine to probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 presidential election.

Still, Democrats have indicated they think they already have ample testimony about Trump's conduct on Ukraine. The slew of current and former officials from the State Department and White House have appeared 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.