White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defied a subpoena Friday to appear before House committees for a deposition as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. He was scheduled to testify at 9 a.m., but reportedly informed impeachment investigators “one minute” before he was due to testify that the White House had ordered him not to appear at the closed-door hearing.“This morning, one minute before his scheduled deposition was to start, Mr. Mulvaney's outside counsel informed us that his client has been directed by the White House not to comply with the duly authorized subpoena and asserted absolute immunity,” investigators said in a statement.
Mulvaney was subpoenaed for his “substantial firsthand knowledge and information” after the White House originally rejected a request for him to appear voluntarily, according to the House Foreign Affairs committee. “Past Democrat and Republican administrations would not be inclined to permit senior advisers to the president to participate in such a ridiculous, partisan, illegitimate proceeding—and neither is this one,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters on Tuesday.
The chief of staff is a central figure in the impeachment inquiry, with House officials claiming he was directly involved in an effort orchestrated by the president to pressure Ukraine to pursue several investigations and withhold aid from being delivered via the Office of Management and Budget. “If the White House had evidence to contest those facts, they would allow Mr. Mulvaney to be deposed, as three chiefs of staffs of President Clinton were during his impeachment proceedings. Instead, they're hiding and trying to conceal the truth from the American people,” investigators added on Friday.