Mulvaney: ‘Get Over It;’ Democrats: ‘We Don’t Think So, Mick’

Though “Get over it” seems to be the Trump administration’s response whenever they’ve been caught in a lie, called out on wrongdoing, or…caught placing the country at risk, Mick Mulvaney may have been the first to say the actual words out loud and in public.

During an October 17 press conference, Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, admitted that Trump used U.S. Congress-appropriated military aid as leverage to further his personal political agenda. Trump, he said, withheld the aid, badly needed by Ukraine to resist Russian aggression, in order to pressure Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a conspiracy theory about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election. A quid pro quo, in other words.

“We do that all the time with foreign policy,” said Mulvaney. “I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.”

The Department of Justice, however, distanced itself from Mulvaney’s claims that Trump had its blessing for this particular “foreign policy” exchange.

“If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation of any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us,” a DOJ official told the Washington Examiner.

Others, too, including some GOP lawmakers, were aghast at Mulvaney’s admission. 

“Totally inexplicable,” said one, who requested anonymity. “He literally said the thing the president and everyone else said did not happen.”

After you’ve denied a whistleblower’s allegations, what else can you do, though, when a rough transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy, along with a number of current and former State Department officials and White House employees, confirm the whistleblower’s account — that not only was there a quid pro quo, but it was to benefit Trump personally? If you’re Mick Mulvaney or Donald Trump, you brazenly change your tack to “Yeah, we did it. Get over it.”

Though Mulvaney argued that every administration makes deals like this with foreign governments  — seeking concessions in exchange for aid — it is done to aid the interests or protection of the United States. In this case, however, Donald Trump sought to use the U.S. military aid to further his personal political ambitions.

According to U.S. law, “soliciting anything of value” from a foreign government in connection with an election is illegal. Asking a leader of a foreign country for a “favor” — to dig up dirt on a political opponent — is illegal (let alone, unethical). A U.S. president using his office to further his personal interests is impeachable. 

Shortly after throwing Trump under the bus, Mulvaney tried to walk back his words, claiming the press had misrepresented what he had said. Everyone in the room, however, heard what Mulvaney said, and there are multiple video records of what he said.

Considering the recent and upcoming testimony of several diplomats and other U.S. Foreign Service officials, including today’s scheduled testimony from acting U.S, Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor, Jr., it’s clear that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives do not intend to just “get over it.” 

Mulvaney: ‘Get Over’ Political Influence in Foreign Policy | Bloomberg Markets and Finance [2019-10-17]

Fleischer: Mulvaney made a ‘terrible mistake’ by contradicting Trump |
Fox News | [2019-10-18]

Despite Second Whistleblower, Republicans Remain Silent

As Donald Trump continues to try to undercut the credibility of the whistleblower who has been the catalyst of an impeachment inquiry against Trump, a second whistleblower has come forward. This second whistleblower reportedly has first-hand information that corroborates the initial whistleblower’s complaint.

Both whistleblowers’ complaints center on a phone call Donald Trump had with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25, during which Trump pressed Zelenskiy to conduct an investigation into political opponent Joe Biden, and Biden’s son, Hunter.

The goal of the subsequent impeachment inquiry is to investigate “the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding military assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters,” according to a letter signed by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Oversight Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.).

It is known that, shortly before his call with Zelenskiy, Trump told Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Though the transcript of the call, as well as a set of text exchanges between several U.S. diplomats support the veracity of the whistleblowers’ complaints, Donald Trump (as well as most GOP lawmakers on his behalf, at this point) denies any wrongdoing.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, ”The first so-called second hand information ‘Whistleblower’ got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another ‘Whistleblower’ is coming in from the Deep State, also with second hand info… Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!”

(“Shifty” refers to House representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif), who is House Intelligence Committee Chairman.)

Trump has been accused of not only of jeopardizing U.S. national security, but also of undermining the integrity of U.S. elections, violating campaign finance laws by soliciting foreign help, and obstruction of justice (by resisting congressional subpoenas).

Despite the fact that legal scholars, government officials, and many Republicans believe Trump has committed impeachable offenses, all Republican lawmakers but a handful, to date, have either remained silent or continued to excuse Trump. Those who have spoken out against Trump include Utah Senator Mitt Romney, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, and Texas Rep. Will Hurd are the exception.

Even Vice President Mike Pence, who in the past has held himself up as an emblem of integrity, is willing to overlook Trump’s lack of integrity, and even defend it: “I think the American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States (referring to Biden) or his family profited from this position as vice president in the last administration.”

In a Washington Post op-ed, Max Boot writes, “Most Republicans… have too much self-respect to openly defend Trump — and too little courage to openly condemn him. So, for the most part, they fall silent. Or they assail Trump’s accusers rather than Trump.”

Trump continues along his usual M.O.: Commit wrongdoing; lie about having committed the wrongdoing; get caught in the lie and insist that the lie is the truth; get challenged some more about the lie, and publicly undercut the challengers. Finally, own up to the wrongdoing but insist that in this case, it wasn’t wrongdoing, then brazenly do it again.

Last week, Trump stood on the South Lawn of the White House and openly invited not only Ukraine, but also China, to investigate the Bidens. It seems Trump was correct when he said, in 2016, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Or, it seems, the souls of Republican lawmakers.

With two whistleblowers (and possibly more), a transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy, and a stack of damning texts, where are the Republican lawmakers who claim to be such patriots?

Second whistleblower comes forward to support impeachment inquiry
CBS Evening News | 2019-10-06]

NYT reports there is a second whistleblower with ‘more direct information’ | Fox News [2019-10-5]