Mulvaney: 'Politics can and should influence foreign policy'

Mulvaney: 'Politics can and should influence foreign policy'
© Getty Images

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDemocrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Trump trial poses toughest test yet for Roberts 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 John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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.


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.


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 BidenBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger pens op-ed in defense of Biden: 'I stuttered once, too. I dare you to mock me' MORE and his son Hunter Biden.

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Five takeaways from Parnas's Maddow interview Giuliani pushes to join Trump impeachment defense team: report MORE testified last month that "everyone was in the loop" and that Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process 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."