Mick Mulvaney: Trump's new fall guy on epic corruption

Mick Mulvaney: Trump's new fall guy on epic corruption
By Executive Office of the President of the United States - https://www.whitehouse.gov/people/mick-mulvaney/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64955254

It's getting increasingly more difficult to keep track of all the new impeachable acts President Trump commits every day. And perhaps even more difficult to imagine the most outrageous thing he can do that the Republican Party would still defend.


It took almost two weeks, but the White House has finally admitting what everyone knew from day one: Trump demanded a quid pro quo from the Ukrainian government before releasing military aid authorized by Congress. Republicans have been denying the obvious, remaining willfully blind to a brazen scheme. That suddenly seems quaint, now that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has confessed on live television that there was a quid pro quo.

“Do I think it amounts to a quid pro quo? Absolutely not,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, after the White House released a summary of a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which the president asked Zelensky to “do us a favor” and investigate potential 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter while negotiating U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

“There was no quid pro quo. You’d have to have that if there was going to be anything wrong,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

“What I saw, he asked him to look into something, but I ― I’m new,” Republican Sen. Rick Scott told HuffPost. Scott, formerly the governor of Florida, has served in the Senate since January.

Ever since it was first reported that a White House whistleblower’s complaint had been blocked from Congress, it was clear that at least one of Trump’s closest minions was bound to take the blame — at least partially. While initially defending himself from accusations that he improperly pressured Ukraine, Trump dragged his vice president into the crossfire. "I think you should ask for VP Pence's conversation because he had a couple of conversations also," he encouraged reporters. When Trump ordered military aid to Ukraine be frozen earlier this year, he reportedly went through Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff and budget director, to the chagrin of Pentagon officials.

It now seems that Mulvaney, who remains in an acting capacity — for a position that requires no Senate confirmation — nearly a year after assuming the job, has volunteered to serve as Trump’s fall guy. He was sent out to announce a decision and to field mounting questions that the president would prefer not to face.

“He was really upset with the political influence in foreign policy, that was one of the things he was so upset about this,” Mulvaney said at a planned but unprompted appearance in the White House press briefing room on Thursday. From the White House podium, Mulvaney, who as director of the Office of Management and Budget also deals with congressional appropriations, admitted that the president attempted to weaponize U.S. foreign policy, in defiance of congressional mandate, for his own personal political benefit.

“Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, that’s why we held up the money,” Mulvaney said, referring to a conspiracy theory that a hacked Democratic National Committee computer server was taken to Ukraine in 2016 to hide evidence that Kyiv, not Moscow, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (It's not adequate to say that there's no evidence for this. No such thing happened.)

“I have news for everybody: get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy,” Mulvaney barked.. “Elections do have consequences and they should.”

The White House playbook on this growing scandal is a familiar variation of the widely distributed Narcissist’s Prayer. First deny, then spin by saying even if you did it, it's totally legitimate, then admit to it in a roundabout way.

That didn't happen.

And if it did, it wasn't that bad.

And if it was, that's not a big deal.

And if it is, that's not my fault.

And if it was, I didn't mean it.

And if I did … get over it. 

This is the bully's last line. It's a taunt: Either accept this, or do something about it.

Mulvaney peddled Trump’s preferred Ukraine conspiracy theory to claim that all of this was part of an ongoing Department of Justice probe. But the DOJ has already denied that Attorney General Bill Barr had any involvement in this: "Mr. Trump has not asked Mr. Barr to contact Ukraine for any reason."

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