The president’s legal defense in the impeachment inquiry has taken a bizarre turn.
“Even in a White House of never-befores, this may be one of the more head-spinning: The president’s chief of staff is trying to join a lawsuit against the president,” The New York Times reported Saturday. “Mick Mulvaney works only about 50 steps from the Oval Office as he runs the White House staff but rather than simply obey President Trump’s order to not cooperate with House impeachment investigators, he sent his lawyers to court late Friday night asking a judge whether he should or not.”
“In effect, Mr. Mulvaney hopes the court will tell him whether to listen to his own boss, who wants him to remain silent, or to comply with a subpoena from the House, which wants his testimony,” the newspaper reported. “That put Mr. Mulvaney at odds with some other current White House and administration officials who had simply defied the House, citing the president’s order not to cooperate with what he called an illegitimate ‘witch hunt.’”
The paper interviewed historian Chris Whipple, author of the book The Gatekeepers on the history of White House chiefs of staff.
“It’s symptomatic of a White House that is more dysfunctional than ever — except now it’s not just chaos, the long knives are coming out,” Whipple said. “Everybody, including the White House chief, seems to be lawyering up.”
“Given that Mulvaney has been willing to do almost anything for Trump, it’s remarkable that he’s asking for a second opinion,” he added.