Before the impeachment of Donald Trump is finished, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will wind up being a key figure in the drama unfolding at the White House both as a witness to what took place with Trump’s attempt to extort the government of Ukraine and also as a prime suspect who may well have been running his own personal scam.
The Daily Beast reports that while Mulvaney was still working as the head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), that department sought to delay the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine:
“When the Trump administration first decided to sell Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) moved to temporarily pause the effort, according to multiple sources briefed on the matter.
“The unusual move didn’t just foreshadow the huge fight that has President Donald Trump now facing impeachment. It also caught the eye of congressional investigators in the impeachment inquiry.”
The move “frustrated” members of the administration such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, both of whom saw the military aid as a “key national security priority.”
Even though OMB later rescinded the hold on the Javelin missiles, it raises a larger question about why exactly the budget agency under Mulvaney’s leadership would have gotten involved in the matter in the first place. As a U.S. government official who specializes on arms sales notes:
“It is not their brief to have an opinion on the national security or foreign policy implications of arms sales.”
So strange was the move by Mulvaney’s agency that it has drawn a great deal of interest from the House impeachment inquiry, which is trying to piece together the history of the administration’s policy regarding Ukraine. That country, it should be noted, has been under direct and indirect attack from Russia for years.
The best question was stated by a member of the administration who told The Daily Beast:
“Why was Mick Mulvaney upholding Susan Rice and Barack Obama’s bad Ukraine policy?”
And that question leads to others. For example:
- While at OMB, was Mulvaney helping Trump slow-walk Ukraine aid since other agencies refused to do so?
- Could Mulvaney have been running his own Ukraine scam? Did he stand to benefit financially if he held up the arms sale?
No matter how all of this turns out, Mulvaney has a hell of a lot of questions to answer.