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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 MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' 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 TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal 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 BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE and his son Hunter Biden.

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandAmerica's practice of 'pay-to-play' ambassadors is no joke Graham's 'impeach Kamala' drumbeat will lead Republicans to a 2022 defeat GOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' MORE testified last month that "everyone was in the loop" and that Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoPompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates Dozens of scientists call for deeper investigation into origins of COVID-19, including the lab theory 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."