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Mulvaney: 'Politics can and should influence foreign policy'

Mulvaney: 'Politics can and should influence foreign policy'
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Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump campaign had paid .7M to organizers of rally ahead of Capitol riot: report Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration FDA chief says he was 'disgusted' by Capitol riots, considered resigning MORE on Tuesday stood by his controversial comments at an October press conference, saying he believes politics should influence foreign policy.

“Politics can and should influence foreign policy, and hopefully always will," Mulvaney said at a Wall Street Journal event Tuesday.

Mulvaney did not specifically address allegations that President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in exchange for security aid and a White House meeting, which resulted Tuesday morning in two articles of impeachment against Trump.

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The acting chief of staff insisted that whichever political party controls the White House has the right to set foreign policy, and that career officials and lawmakers should respect that. The comments appeared to be a veiled criticism of government officials who testified last month about concerns that Trump's policy toward Ukraine was inappropriate.

Mulvaney's Tuesday comments amounted to a defense of his performance at a press briefing in October, in which he told reporters security aid to Ukraine was dependent partly on the country investigating a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.

"And I have news for everybody: Get over it," Mulvaney said at the time. "There's going to be political influence in foreign policy."

Democrats have cited those comments repeatedly during their impeachment inquiry, which accelerated Tuesday morning when they announced two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his office and obstructing Congress in its investigation into his actions.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the articles this week before they move to the full House for a vote.

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At the center of the inquiry is a July 25 phone call during which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE and his son Hunter Biden.

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Top Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job' Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland MORE testified last month that "everyone was in the loop" and that Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoChina: US military presence in South China Sea a threat to peace, stability White House installs new leadership at federally-funded international broadcasters US carrier group enters South China Sea amid tensions between China, Taiwan MORE and other top officials were aware of the effort to secure investigations into the president's political rivals.

“I’m not going to testify, but I will remind everybody of what Sondland said, which is he very rarely talked to me and had trouble getting me on the phone," Mulvaney said Tuesday.

Mulvaney and a slew of other top administration officials have refused to testify in the House impeachment process.

"I very much look forward to the opportunity. If the president instructs me to tell my side of the story, I look forward to it," Mulvaney said at a Wall Street Journal event.

The acting chief of staff disputed that the White House was taking advantage of the Fifth Amendment's right to avoid self-incrimination, however, asserting that the impeachment process was not analogous to a court proceeding.

"You take the Fifth when you’re in court," he said. "This is a kangaroo process."