Tag Archives: Mick Mulvaney

Isn’t this ‘obstruction of justice’?

I must be missing something, or perhaps I am slow on the uptake.

The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to Capitol Hill to take his testimony behind closed doors; it’s part of the House impeachment inquiry into whether Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Mulvaney was a no-show. He defied a lawful subpoena from the legislative branch of government.

Now, where I come from, that would be considered an obstruction of justice. Congress is doing its legally sanctioned duty to ask an executive branch staffer for information into a legally constituted inquiry into whether the president of the United States should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Republicans involved in this inquiry are giving the White House a pass on stiffing Congress. That’s hardly what they said in 1998 when the House was conducting an inquiry into whether to impeach President Clinton. Two decades ago GOP House members and their Senate colleagues said that subpoenas issued by Congress had the force of law and that anyone who gets a summons must appear before Congress.

What’s changed? How is this different?

Oh, wait! I got it! The president is a Republican. Therefore, he isn’t held to the same standard of accountability as his Democratic predecessor.

The House impeached Clinton on charges that included an obstruction count. Has the White House chief of staff delivered another evidentiary dirt ball that will land on Donald Trump?

Go ahead, Mr. POTUS, run the White House all by yourself!

A reader of this blog has offered a fascinating response to a blog post I published that was critical of Donald Trump leaving acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney out of the loop regarding the planning for the raid that killed Islamic State founder Abu Makr al-Baghdadi.

He wrote: And yet the raid was an astounding success. Baghdadi was killed and none of the good guys were injured. So does he really?

Hey, he might have a point? I say “might” because we don’t know without seeing how the president would be able to manage the White House all by himself.

Mulvaney likely is on his final lap as the acting chief of staff. So here’s my thought: Mr. President, go ahead and leave the chief of staff job vacant after you give Mulvaney the boot. You ought to run the place all by yourself, just as you more or less said you might do when you accepted the Republican presidential nomination in the summer of 2016.

Trump declared that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s myriad problems. He has burned through three chiefs of staff in less than a single term as president. Reince Priebus couldn’t cut it; John Kelly tried to manage the place, but gave up; now it’s Mulvaney serving in this “acting” capacity.

Trump doesn’t entrust his chiefs of staff with any real authority. So, he ought to just take the reins himself. He alone should run the complex White House operation. He alone should make the key personnel decisions. He alone should be able to communicate with key legislative leaders in Congress.

The White House has an interminable number of moving parts. Trump has boasted of his remarkable business acumen. He runs this business empire but, of course, doesn’t acknowledge the multiple failures he has suffered over the span of many years.

Aww, but what the heck. That was then. The here and now puts the president in charge of the executive branch of the federal government.

Let’s see how he manages the White House and let’s see if he, alone, can stem the chaos that has overrun the place.

Who needs a chief of staff, right, Mr. President? Well, you do!

News that White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was kept out of the loop regarding the mission to kill Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi illustrates a fundamental failure of Donald Trump’s masquerading as president of the United States.

It shows how the absence of any public service or political knowledge in Trump’s pre-presidential background has disserved him and, worse, the nation.

Trump doesn’t seem to appreciate the value of a strong White House chief of staff. He calls the shots himself. He relies on no one to provide him with candid advice. He hires chiefs of staff and then ignores them, sends them to the back of the room, dismisses them with impunity.

That is the fate that has befallen Mulvaney, the “acting” chief of staff who didn’t know about the Army Delta Force raid on al-Baghdadi’s compound until after it already had commenced.

It looks for all the world as if Mulvaney will get the boot. It’ll likely be soon. He’ll go back home to South Carolina — where he was when he heard the news about the al-Baghdadi mission.

The question then becomes: Who in the world is willing to put up with the president’s ignorance about government and who is willing to dismissed, disrespected and disparaged the way Trump has done to Mick Mulvaney?

Let’s all keep our eyes peeled to Donald Trump’s Twitter account. An announcement is likely to be forthcoming.

Trump tramples over his own moment of triumph

If you want to witness an example of how badly Donald Trump’s administration allegedly “functions,” consider the way the president has mangled what should be a moment of supreme triumph for the commander in chief.

Trump authorized a daring raid that resulted in the death of Islamic State monster in chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Army Delta Force commandos carried out the mission with lethal precision. None of them was injured or worse.

The world is a better and safer place without al-Baghdadi slithering among our midst.

But what has happened?

Trump told us about how al-Baghdadi was crying, whimpering, sobbing and screaming when the soldiers were closing in. He went into extraordinary — and quite possibly fictitious — detail about the terrorist’s final moments on Earth.

Then we hear just today that White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, the guy who should have been there at the very beginning of the raid planning, didn’t know about it until the operation was running at full speed. How in the world does the chief of staff — albeit the “acting” chief — not know in real time about the planning for such a critical military operation?

I recall that vivid picture of Andrew Card, who was President Bush 43’s chief of staff, whispering into the president’s ear on 9/11 that “the nation is under attack.” Or President Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, standing by while the national security team was watching in real time as SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.

Mick Mulvaney needed to be there. At the beginning. He needed to know the details from the inception of the daring mission. He learned about it when the rest of the world saw Trump’s Twitter message about “something really big” occurring.

The White House chief of staff by definition is the individual who is among those who “need to know” the details of everything that is going on in the White House.

Donald Trump has turned his moment of supreme triumph into yet another example of chaos and confusion.

Now it’s Mick Mulvaney who’s on the Trump Bubble

This is hardly a flash, but it looks for all the world as if “acting” White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is heading for the exit.

It turns out that Donald Trump chose to keep his chief of staff in the dark prior to the launching of the most important military mission of his presidency: the killing of Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Mulvaney reportedly as at home in South Carolina when Trump tweeted the message: “Something very big has just happened.” Mulvaney then was brought up to speed as the mission was commencing.

What is so odd and frightening about this revelation is that White House chiefs of staff normally are part of the national security team that meets to discuss such operations prior to their being launched. Not so with Mulvaney.

Andy Card, chief of staff for President Bush 43, said he is “baffled” by Mulvaney being left out of the planning of such an event.

Mulvaney’s “acting” status has been in place since he took the job after John Kelly departed at the start of this year. Then he held that disastrous White House press briefing a couple of weeks ago in which he admitted that Trump asked for a political favor from the head of a foreign government, telling the media and others to “get over it.” 

So, the guy who once ran the Office of Management Budget only to step into the snake pit known as the White House is likely on his way out. Just think that this is payback for the guy who famously said when he took the White House job that he intended merely to “let Trump be Trump.”

Chaos, anyone?

What? Mulvaney might get canned? No-o-o-o!

This just in: Mick Mulvaney, the “acting” White House chief of staff who’s had this job since January, might get the boot from Donald J. “Boss of the Best People” Trump.

How come? Trump is angry at Mulvaney for admitting in public that there was a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine, that Trump held up military aid in exchange for dirt on political opponents.

Mulvaney told us all to “get over it,” and said that politics inevitably gets intertwined with foreign policy.

Trump is steamed. He has floated the names of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway as possible chief of staff successors to Mulvaney.

Let’s see, that would chief of staff No. 4 for the Trump White House. Reince Priebus was replaced by John Kelly, who was replaced by Mulvaney. Now it’s Mulvaney who’s on the proverbial gurney, awaiting a form of political execution.

This is not a “fine-tuned machine” operating inside the White House.

The machine is close to exploding.

Memo to Mick: POTUS is no longer in the ‘hospitality’ business

Mick Mulvaney shoved both feet into his pie hole while appearing on “Fox News Sunday.”

The show’s host, Chris Wallace, was questioning the acting White House chief of staff about Donald Trump’s lame-brain notion of bringing the G7 summit of industrialized nations to his Trump Doral National Country Club.

Mulvaney then sought to persuade Wallace that Trump “still sees himself as being in the hospitality business.” Wallace replied that Trump is “the president of the United States.”

Mulvaney answered that is Trump’s “background.”

Holy cow, man! In what world is Trump’s chief shill, the chief of staff, living?

Donald Trump sought for a brief period of time to violate openly the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the Article I provision that prevents presidents from profiting during their time in office. Trump would have profited handsomely by hosting the G7 summit. He got a huge amount of resistance from Congress; then he backed away from his idiotic notion.

Trump’s idiocy has nothing to do with his believing he is still in the “hospitality” business. It has everything to do with his ignorance of the office to which he was elected.

Mick Mulvaney mirrors his boss’s ignorance. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about .

No, Mick, we won’t ‘get over it’

Mick Mulvaney needs to understand something about his role as the ostensible “acting” White House chief of staff.

When he makes public statements out loud in the light of day in front of the world. he cannot take them back.

A reporter asked him this past week about whether Donald Trump sought a “quid pro quo” in withholding funds for Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden. He said everyone does it and that we all should “get over it.” Mulvaney said there always has been “politics” associated with foreign policy.

Oh, my.

No, Mick. Not true. Not quite like what we all know has occurred.

Donald Trump had that phone call with Ukraine President Volodyrmyr Zellenskiy. They talked about U.S. aid to Ukrainians fighting Russian-back rebels. Zellenskiy thanked the president for the missiles, but then Trump said he needed a “favor, though.”

He withheld the arms until Zellenskiy produced the goods on Biden, a potential 2020 presidential opponent. He sought foreign government help for his re-election.

That, right there, sits at Ground Zero of the effort to seek impeachment of the president. It is not a matter that we need to “get over.” It is a profoundly serious political act that once it is done — and impeachment by the House now appears to be a near certainty — it will stain this presidency forever.

I am not nearly convinced the Senate will evict Trump from the presidency when it receives the articles of impeachment and then conducts a trial. Too many GOP senators remain loyal to Trump, disregarding the obvious “high crimes and misdemeanors” that this president has committed.

One of them involves Ukraine and that matter about withholding military assistance in exchange for a political favor.

C’mon, Mick. Knock off the shilling for the president. You’ve been “acting” chief of staff for damn near a year. Do your job. Provide the liar in chief with the kind of stern advice that White House chiefs of staff are supposed to give the guy who hires them. If he won’t listen and if he insists on careening toward impeachment, there’s one more thing you do can do.

You can resign.

How about some more chaos and confusion at White House?

Do you want some more chaos and confusion emanating from the Donald Trump administration? Let’s try this out.

The president asserts repeatedly that he did nothing wrong when he talked with the president of Ukraine about “corruption” in Ukraine, even when he asked for a “favor, though” regarding the shipment of military hardware for Ukrainian forces fighting Russia-backed rebels. The “favor” involved some dirt that Trump wanted on Joe Biden, who might be a 2020 opponent in the presidential election. Ukraine would get the equipment if it delivered the goods to Trump’s re-election team.

Then we hear from the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who declares that, yes, the president withheld the arms for political purposes. Then he tells the nation, while standing in the White House press room, to “Get over it.”

What? You mean the chief of staff of the White House has admitted that Donald Trump broke the law? That he violated his presidential oath? That he has committed an offense for which he can be impeached by the House of Representatives?

Reporters gave Mulvaney several chances to take it back. He didn’t. He insisted that was the essence of the phone call Trump had with the Ukrainian president, Volodormyr Zellenskiy.

Oops!

Now he has sought to walk it back. He said his remarks were “misconstrued.” Mulvaney has actually sought to take back what the entire nation heard him say. It’s as if he is saying we all need hearing aids. You didn’t really hear him say what he said.

The White House team is scrambling. They were stunned, bumfuzzled by what the chief of staff said. They couldn’t believe it either in real time, which makes Mulvaney’s effort to erase the record as ridiculous as it looks.

He said it. As it is declared on occasion: You cannot unhonk the horn.

Actually, Mr. Acting WH CoS, it is a big deal

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, went on the record this morning by declaring that the kerfuffle over the USS John McCain is “much ado about nothing.”

It’s not a big deal, he told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd.

OK, actually it is a big deal, sir. It’s not the stuff of political cataclysms. But it’s a big enough deal for the Pentagon to implore the White House to stop politicizing the military.

You know the story. Donald Trump traveled to Japan for a state visit. The U.S. Navy, it has been confirmed, issued an order to hide the name of a U.S. destroyer, the USS John McCain, from the president’s view. Trump and the late senator from Arizona, Republican John McCain, were political adversaries. They had said some nasty things about each other. Trump once denigrated McCain’s heroic service as a Vietnam War prisoner by saying he was a hero “only because he was captured.”

The idea that the Navy — where McCain served with distinction until he entered politics in the early 1980s — would be used as a cudgel to beat on the namesake of a warship is an act of cheap politics. It has no place in the military.

The White House has said that Trump played no role in the shielding of the name. The president has said he “wouldn’t do that.” I’ll accept the denials of direct presidential involvement.

However, the matter is a big deal insofar as it dragged the military into a political dispute.

Once more, with extreme vigor: The men and women who serve in all branches of the military do not act as tools in political struggles; they take an oath to protect the rest of us from foreign adversaries.

Thus, the political directive that drags the military into the midst of a domestic dispute is a big deal.