Far-right leaders rush to save Mick Mulvaney after quid pro quo admission


Mulvaney's role as acting White House chief of staff may be at risk.

A group of about four dozen right-wing leaders sent a letter to Donald Trump this week, urging him to keep Mick Mulvaney as his chief of staff, according to reports from the Washington Post and New York Times.

The letter comes one week after Mulvaney stood before reporters and admitted that Trump had withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into a long-debunked conspiracy about the DNC servers.

Trump also pressured Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden. Accepting or soliciting election help from a foreign national is illegal.

The far-right leaders behind the letter include the anti-LGBTQ president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, and Club for Growth's David McIntosh, according to the Washington Post. Both Perkins and McIntosh are supporters of Mulvaney, a former congressman and member of the House Freedom Caucus, which was a thorn in the side of Republicans when they held the House majority.

"Recent news reports demonstrate that that the D.C. Swamp is attacking [Mulvaney]," the first paragraph of the letter reads, according to the Times.

The authors also call Mulvaney Trump's "most successful chief."

The letter comes seven days after Mulvaney admitted from the White House briefing room podium that there was an explicit quid pro quo for Ukraine to receive crucial military aid.

"[Did] he also mention to me, in the past, that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that'ss it. And that's why we held up the money," he said at the time.

Mulvaney called the quid pro quo "absolutely appropriate" before claiming that "the money held up had absolutely nothing to do with Biden."

"We do that all the time with foreign policy," he added. "I have news for everybody: Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy."

Mulvaney later tried to walk back the admission, which has become central to the House's ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Republicans have struggled to defend Trump in the wake of Mulvaney's comments.

Fox News, Trump's preferred news network, reported earlier this week that Mulvaney's job is now in jeopardy. Reuters, too, reported on Monday that Trump is taking recommendations from his supporters on who he should hire to replace his chief of staff.

According to the Atlantic, Mulvaney's job was already in jeopardy ahead of his disastrous news conference.

"The president has polled confidants about whether Mulvaney is up to the job, blaming him for leaks and negative news coverage, and considering whether he should find someone else to run the West Wing," the outlet reported Friday. "It might stand to reason, then, that with Trump's growing frustrations with Mulvaney — coupled with a performance yesterday that could put Trump in greater legal jeopardy than ever before — Mulvaney's days as acting chief of staff are numbered."

Mulvaney has become a key figure in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

According to multiple witnesses who have testified in depositions with House investigators, he was part of the pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

Additionally, Mulvaney was one of several people who were in the room when Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the phone on July 25. The White House worked to hide that conversation in a top secret codeword system afterward, but later released a partial transcript of the call amid public uproar.

If Mulvaney is ousted, he will be Trump's third chief of staff in as many years to leave the post, following the departures of Reince Priebus and John Kelly.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.