Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defied House Democrats’ subpoena for his testimony on Friday, informing them that he would not appear at an impeachment inquiry hearing just one minute before the hearing was supposed to begin.
“This morning, one minute before his scheduled deposition was to start, Mr. Mulvaney’s outside counsel informed us that his client had been directed by the White House not to comply with the duly authorized subpoena and asserted ‘absolute immunity,'” an official working on the inquiry told The Hill.
In October, Mulvaney seemingly admitted the White House withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Mulvaney backtracked the next day, telling reporters “there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”
Democrats suspect Trump may have withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations against political rival Joe Biden. Trump has repeatedly denied the charge of a quid pro quo with respect to military aid, and has termed the impeachment inquiry a “hoax.”
Mulvaney has consistently denied that the holdup on military aid was ordered specifically to pressure Ukraine regarding allegations against Biden.
The House committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry subpoenaed Mulvaney on Thursday night for testimony on Friday morning. Senior House Democrats had already requested Mulvaney on November 5 to testify, saying they believed he had “substantial first-hand knowledge” relevant to the impeachment inquiry into Trump.