Mick Mulvaney is the kind of aggressively overconfident stooge who thought he could magically make Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal go away by simply confessing to all of it from the White House podium. So it’s not surprising that Mulvaney has gone and done it again, in a move that’s almost impressive in its level of stupidness.
You know how John Bolton keeps saying that he wants to wait to testify to the House impeachment inquiry until the courts rule on whether current/former White House officials are legally required to testify? There are two ongoing court cases revolving around this. One of them died when House Democrats dropped their Kupperman subpoena. The other, involving Don McGahn, is moving quickly – but perhaps not quickly enough to fit with House Democrats’ preferred impeachment hearing schedule. Now Mick Mulvaney appears to have just done them a huge favor.
The House subpoenaed Mick Mulvaney on Thursday to testify on Friday. Mulvaney refused to show up, so the House simply marked it down as yet another instance of obstruction of justice on Donald Trump’s part and moved on. But tonight, Politico is reporting that Mulvaney has “moved to intervene in a pending lawsuit over the House’s right to subpoena Trump advisers in the impeachment probe.” What does this mean?
Mick Mulvaney is asking the judge in the Kupperman case to rule that Mulvaney doesn’t have to testify. We don’t know why Mulvaney is doing this. Maybe he’s hoping to avoid being criminally charged with obstruction once Trump is gone. Or maybe Trump and Mulvaney cooked this up in the hope of convincing the judge to rule that no one is required to testify, including Bolton.
But Mick Mulvaney’s entrance into this case isn’t going to give the judge a reason to rule in Mulvaney’s favor. In fact, because Mulvaney is an alleged co-conspirator, and by law this waives all forms of privilege, it should increase the odds of the judge ruling that Trump’s people must testify. Moreover, because Mulvaney is so high profile, his entrance in this case could prompt the judge to rule very quickly – perhaps before the McGahn case reaches its ruling – thus setting the stage for Bolton to testify sooner. This may be the dumbest thing Mulvaney has done yet, which is saying something.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report