A raging President Donald Trump has reportedly been fuming and threatening to fire acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for weeks over recent missteps amid the House’s impeachment probe, three people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.
Citing the three sources, The Post reported Wednesday that “the president has griped about Mulvaney’s appearance at an Oct. 17 press conference in which he admitted military aid to Ukraine was withheld to pressure Kyiv to launch investigations into 2016 election meddling and former Vice President Joe Biden, a chief political rival of Trump’s.”
As noted by The Post, Mulvaney later tried to clarify that there was “absolutely no quid pro quo.”
Trump wanted to fire his top official immediately, but senior aides reportedly advised him that firing Mulvaney at such a pivotal moment during the House’s impeachment inquiry could be risky, particularly given Mulvaney’s role in the decision to temporarily freeze the aid to Ukraine.
“I don’t think you’ll see him going anywhere until after December,” one Trump adviser told The Post. “But the president was very unhappy with that press conference. That was a very bad day for the president.”
Mulvaney was in direct communication with Trump about the president’s desire to hold $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as the White House was pressuring Kyiv to launch investigations that would be politically beneficial to the president.
Advisers have cited the dismissal of former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who was dismissed in September and is now a top target for Democrats for testimony.
Mulvaney’s standing in the White House has been under renewed scrutiny when he reversed plans to file a lawsuit asking a federal court to rule on if he should comply with a House subpoena for his testimony, saying instead he would follow the White House’s order to not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.