Donald Trump promised he would hire “only the best” people. Well, now we know how Trump defines “best” and that is, “in the f–k over their heads as much as I am.” The GOP had been messaging for weeks now that there was no relationship between aid to Ukraine being withheld and the requested “corruption investigation” (allegedly of the DNC server, but really “gimme dirt on Biden”) and Mick Mulvaney went in and blew that notion to smithereens. “Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it, that’s why we held up the money.” That was inflammatory, but his next comment was pyrotechnic: “I have news for everybody: get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
Wowser! So, now we have an acting Chief of Staff formally codifying the policy of this administration, which is in a nutshell, that Trump breaking the law at will is the new normal and we’re supposed to live with it. Rule of law? Nah, that’s for losers.
The rest of the day was more wondrous still, as Democrat Eric Swalwell intoned, “We have a confession,” and Mulvaney tried to walk back his screw up with the default defense of this administration: witch hunt. New York Times:
“Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump,” Mr. Mulvaney wrote. “Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server.”
“Mick Mulvaney was either lying then, or he’s lying now,” said Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat involved in the inquiry. “I think he’s lying now.”
At the White House, staff members recognized that Mr. Mulvaney had created an entirely new controversy with his remarks. Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers, said Thursday, “The president’s legal counsel was not involved in acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s press briefing.”
Mr. Mulvaney’s performance was only part of another extraordinary day in Mr. Trump’s presidency. Mr. Mulvaney made his remarks after he stepped before the cameras to announce that the leaders of the Group of 7 nations would meet in June at Mr. Trump’s golf resort in South Florida, even as he acknowledged the choice could be seen as self-enrichment. In Texas, Mr. Trump hailed a Middle East cease-fire that would cement Turkey’s goal of pushing Kurds from Northern Syria as “a great day for civilization.”
And the GOP soldiers on, as you totally expect that they would. They spin, and they spin, yet another fabulist web of denials and lies. John Cornyn says, “Do I think it amounts to a quid pro quo? Absolutely not.” Chuck Grassley says, “There was no quid pro quo. You’d have to have that if there was going to be anything wrong,” And Rick Scott is actually somewhat endearing: “What I saw, he asked him to look into something, but I ― I’m new,” Yes, Scotty just got there in January.That’s all right. He’ll learn how to lie with the best of them, we have faith.