Posts tagged with "Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney"

Trump tied Ukraine military aid to political inquiries on Bidens, Bolton book says

January 28, 2020

Someone has leaked the manuscript of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new tell-all book—and the revelations are damaging to President Donald Trump’s defense, as the Senate impeachment inquiry goes into its second week.

Indeed, according to the unpublished manuscript, the president told Bolton in August—just about one month before the adviser’s resignation—that “he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens,” The New York Times reports.

The president’s statement, as described by Bolton, makes it crystal clear that any release of military aid was contingent on Ukraine announcing investigations into Trump’s political enemies—including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

According to the Times, Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

Multiple people told the news outlet about Bolton’s personal, written account of the Ukraine affair. The book presents an outline of what the former advsier might testify to, if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said.

Or not: The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.

Just after midnight on Monday, January 27, the president denied telling Bolton that the aid was tied to investigations. “If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” he wrote on Twitter, reprising his argument that the Ukrainians themselves felt “no pressure” and falsely asserting that the aid was released ahead of schedule.

Over dozens of pages, Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.

For example, the Times reported, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani that the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt.

As for Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, he was present for at least one phone call durng which the president and Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Bolton wrote. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege.

Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents, the Times said. “It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” the lawyer, Charles Cooper, said Sunday night.

The White House has ordered Bolton and other key officials with firsthand knowledge of the president’s dealings not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Bolton said in a statement this month that he would testify if subpoenaed.

Research contact: @nytimes

Don’t count Schumer out: He plans to force votes on evidence, testimony that will ‘squeeze’ Republicans

January 14, 2020

While, in the run-up to the impeachment trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has appeared to be unflinching in his support of President Donald Trump, he should not underestimate his political rival, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Politico reports.

Indeed, although McConnell already has locked up enough Republican votes to ignore demands for a bipartisan framework for the trial, his Democratic counterpart is preparing a counteroffensive. Schumer plans to force a series of votes designed to squeeze vulnerable Republicans and harm them on the campaign trail if they side with Trump, the news outlet says.

Democrats argue the half-dozen at-risk GOP senators will need some daylight between them and Trump to get reelected. And if they vote against Schumer’s motions to hear new evidence and witness testimony, they’ll be seen as Trump sycophants — undermining their bids and boosting Schumer’s odds of becoming majority leader.

Support for obtaining new documents at the trial is “even stronger than we thought, with large numbers of Republicans supporting it,” Schumer said in an interview with Politico. “And when you go against what the American people feel strongly about, on an issue they’re paying attention to, it’s not a good idea.”

Public surveys in key swing states back up Democrats’ claims. Polling from Hart Research found that 63% of voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina would react unfavorably if their senator voted against calling witnesses or subpoenaing documents during the Senate impeachment trial.

Another poll from Morning Consult found 57% of voters believe the Senate should call additional witnesses. That includes 71% of Democrats, 56% of Independents, and 40% of Republicans.

What’s more, the president’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s offer to testify has given some momentum to Democrats’ calls for witnesses and documents about the White House’s decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine. Democrats also want to hear from Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey, and Mulvaney Adviser Robert Blair.

“If the Republicans ram through process that ultimately leads to no witnesses, I think they do it at their own peril,” Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), a former chairman of the party’s campaign arm, told Politico. “Some of these members: They have an audience of one. But I think they forgot that there’s a broader audience that they’re going to have to face at election time.”

“The procedural votes may be more important than the vote on removal or acquittal. Because what will matter more to voters than where a senator lands is how he or she got there,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster for Hart Research. “So if Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) or any of the other Republicans vote for acquittal and the takeaway for voters is this is a political or partisan vote on an important issue, that will have a long lasting impact.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that she will release the articles of impeachment to McConnell this week.

Research contact: @politico

Trump retracts decision to host G-7 at Doral resort after GOP kicks up a fuss

October 22, 2019

Following bashing by his own party, President Donald Trump announced abruptly Saturday night that he would no longer host next year’s Group of Seven (G-7) Summit at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Florida, The Washington Post reported.

However, he was unrepentant about scheduling a major diplomatic event at one of his properties—refusing to acknowledge that the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits the president from accepting payments from foreign governments.

“I don’t think you people, with this phony Emoluments Clause—and by the way, I would say that it’s cost anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, The Hill said.

The decision to bring the world leaders to his resort —and to require them, as well as their staffs and the media covering the summit, to pay the Trump Organization for their stays—was an unprecedented one in modern American politics, the Post noted: The president awarded a huge contract to himself. The White House promoted Doral as the single best venue in the United States to host the G-7 summit in June, and the meeting would have brought thousands of guests in the offseason to a resort that is struggling financially.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday defended Trump’s selection of Doral, explaining that Trump still thinks of himself as working in the “hospitality business” even though he is president.

“He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” Mulvaney told anchor Chris Wallace on  Fox News Sunday.  “At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could, and he was very comfortable doing it at Doral.”

Now, Trump said, he and his administration will search for a new location. In a tweet, he attributed the concession to “Irrational Hostility” from Democrats as well as the media, although the revolt among Republicans may well have been the trigger.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

As Trump government shutdown persists, 800K workers wonder when they will see paychecks

December 26, 2018

Don’t hold your breath: A partial government shutdown remains in effect after funding expired for roughly 25% of the federal government—affecting 800,000 employees—when the clock struck midnight on December 22. It is anybody’s guess when it will end, but chances are it won’t be soon, according to a report by CNN..

The president’s incoming Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday that “it is very possible that the shutdown will go beyond [December] 28th and into the new Congress.”

A spokesperson for incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN on Sunday, “If Director Mulvaney says the Trump Shutdown will last into the New Year, believe him—because it’s their shutdown.”

Negotiations between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration over the President’s demands for $5 billion for a border wall have so far not yielded an agreement, making it likely that the shutdown will continue until after Christmas.

Indeed, the Senate adjourned on December 22 with no deal to re-open the government—and the next actual session is not scheduled until December 27. Lawmakers can travel home for Christmas and won’t have to worry about being called back to vote until a deal can be reached, but GOP leaders told senators that if there is no deal by Thursday, they would not have to return for that session, sources have told CNN.

Both House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer have said that the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives will pass a bill to stop the shutdown if it lasts into the new Congress.

“If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January,” the Democratic leaders said in a joint statement after the shutdown started.

According to the CNN report, House Republicans passed a spending bill that included an additional $5 billion for the wall last week, but the legislation is considered dead on arrival in the Senate where Democrats have said they would not support it. Any spending bill needs at least some Democratic votes to pass in the Senate.

Vice President Mike Pence proposed spending $2.5 billion on border security, including the wall, in a stopgap spending bill during meetings on Friday night and Saturday afternoon with Schumer, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Several of the sources said there were policy additions and restrictions included in the proposal to try to bridge the gap. But Democrats said the number and the details tied to it aren’t acceptable.

Following the Saturday meeting, a Schumer spokesman said, “The Vice President came in for a discussion and made an offer. Unfortunately, we’re still very far apart.”

Key parts of the federal government have been impacted by the shutdown, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department, the State Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Despite the fact that the Justice Department will be impacted, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office will be able to continue working. The SCO “is funded from a permanent indefinite appropriation and would be unaffected in the event of a shutdown,” a Justice Department spokesperson told CNN previously.

Typically in the event of a shutdown, some federal employees deemed essential continue to work, but their pay is withheld until the shutdown is over, while other federal employees are placed on furlough, meaning they are effectively put on a leave of absence without pay. Congress can move to order that furloughed employees be paid retroactively after a shutdown is over, though that is not guaranteed.

An estimated 800,000 federal employees may be impacted by the partial shutdown, CNN said—either by having to work during it while their pay is withheld until it ends or by being furloughed.

More than 420,000 government workers are expected to work without pay in a partial shutdown, according to a fact sheet released by the Democratic staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee. That estimate includes more than 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers. In addition, more than 380,000 federal employees would be placed on furlough, according to the fact sheet.

Research contact: @ckmarie