Over the weekend, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone leaked to the media that he’d uncovered emails that fingered Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in Donald Trump’s Ukraine extortion plot. This wasn’t surprising, as Cipollone and Mulvaney have been trying to scapegoat each other through the media for some time. Now it turns out two other administration officials are also making Mulvaney’s life particularly difficult.
The House Intelligence Committee just released the transcripts from the closed door testimony of OMB official Mark Sandy and Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker. It turns out Sandy warned his OMB boss Michael Duffey that he thought holding up the Ukraine aid was illegal. This means Duffey knew a felony was being committed, and unless he can demonstrate that he took some kind of action to cover himself, he’ll be in legal trouble. Our guess is that Duffey will end up fingering Mick Mulvaney, who is still the OMB Director.
Even as we wait to see how that one plays out, Philip Reeker has testified that his best understanding was that Mick Mulvaney was indeed the one behind holding up the Ukraine aid. When you pair this with Mulvaney’s prior public confession that the holdup of the aid was indeed part of a quid pro quo, it’s difficult to imagine how Mulvaney doesn’t end up doing serious prison time once Trump has been finished off.
Throw in the fact that Donald Trump’s own White House is looking to formally scapegoat Mick Mulvaney in the Ukraine extortion scandal, and Mulvaney has to be figuring that he’s not getting a magic pardon out of this. Mulvaney now has very few options – and the one that involves the least amount of prison time would be to promptly flip on Trump while there’s still leniency to be had.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report