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 MulvaneyFauci says positive White House task force reports don't always match what he hears on the ground Bottom line White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds 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 TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary 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 BidenMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Biden offers well wishes to Lebanon after deadly explosion 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoEstablishment-backed Marshall defeats Kobach in Kansas GOP Senate primary Biden offers well wishes to Lebanon after deadly explosion Overnight Defense: Marines find human remains after training accident | Fourth service member killed by COVID-19 | Pompeo huddles with Taliban negotiator 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."