Nov. 13 (UPI) — Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday backed out of a lawsuit asking a court to weigh in on whether he should have to testify in the House’s impeachment inquiry.
He said he instead plans to follow President Donald Trump’s instructions not to comply with a subpoena the House committees handling the impeachment inquiry issued Nov. 7. Democrats requested Mulvaney appear for a closed-door deposition last week, but he declined to show up.
Mulvaney revealed his decision in a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
On Friday, he requested to join the lawsuit by Charles Kupperman, a former top national security official. Kupperman asked the court for clarity on whether he had a constitutional duty to testify after conflicting statements from House Democrats and the White House.
The White House ordered Kupperman not to cooperate with a subpoena from House Democrats. He declined to appear before the House committees last month.
Since then, Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, with similar conflicting orders, joined the same lawsuit, refusing to participate in the impeachment inquiry until the legal dispute was settled.
“Mr. Mulvaney, like Mr. Kupperman, finds himself caught in the division, trapped between the commands of two of its co-equal branches … with one of those branches threatening him with contempt,” Mulvaney’s attorneys, Christopher Muha and William Pittard, wrote in the filing Friday.
House lawyers withdrew Kupperman’s subpoena earlier in the week, saying they would be guided by similar litigation’s outcome regarding the subpoena of former White House counsel Donald McGahn.
Last week, the House committees on foreign affairs, oversight and intelligence released a transcript of a closed-door deposition by National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. He said Mulvaney helped coordinate a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
Vindman told House lawmakers he learned from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland that the Trump administration expected Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in order for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to receive a meeting with Trump.
“I heard [Sondland] say that this had been coordinated with White House chief of staff Mr. Mick Mulvaney,” Vindman said.