Just hours after ignoring a subpoena to appear before congressional investigators, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday asked to join a federal lawsuit currently considering whether current and former administration officials are required to comply with demands to testify.
The lawsuit seeking judicial intervention which Mulvaney is hoping to join was initially filed by former White House national security official Charles Kupperman last month after the Trump administration ordered him not to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats.
“Plaintiff obviously cannot satisfy the competing demands of both the legislative and executive branches, and he is aware of no controlling judicial authority definitively establishing which brand’s command should prevail,” Kupperman’s attorneys wrote in his original complaint.
In court documents filed Friday evening Mulvaney said he’s facing the same conflicting orders, asking the court to decide which branch of federal government he should listen to under the Constitution.
“Despite his unquestioned status as a close and senior advisor to the President, and the longstanding bipartisan position of that branch regarding the compelled congressional testimony of such advisors, the House Defendants threaten to hold Mr. Mulvaney in contempt or otherwise take adverse action against him for obeying the directive of the head of his branch,” Mulvaney wrote in his motion.
“The question whether the President’s authority must give way in the face of a congressional subpoena – the determination Mr. Kupperman has asked this Court to make – is central to the question whether the House may take adverse action against Mr. Mulvaney, as threatened. For that reason, Mr. Mulvaney seeks to intervene here,” his attorneys wrote.
House Democrats requested Mulvaney’s testimony just weeks after a public press conference at the White House in which he seemingly admitted that the administration engaged in a quid pro quo deal, to release Ukrainian military aide in exchange for an investigation into the Biden family, and telling reporters to “get over it.”
“Specifically, the investigation has revealed that you “may have been directly involved in an effort orchestrated by President [Donald] Trump, his personal agent Rudolph Giuliani and others to withhold a coveted White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to pursue investigations that would benefit President Trump’s personal political interests and jeopardized our national security in attempting to do so,” congressional investigators wrote in their letter requesting Mulvaney’s testimony.
[image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]