As the impeachment inquiry enters its public phase, aides to President Trump have advised him to hold off on firing his embattled acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
According to a Washington Post report Wednesday, three sources familiar with the discussions said that senior advisers have warned Trump that removing Mulvaney amid a high-stakes impeachment probe could lead to dire consequences, given how his acting chief of staff played a key role in the decision to hold up Ukrainian military aid and the disruption such a staff shakeup would cause.
Two sources told the Post that Trump never got over his anger from Mulvaney’s disastrous press conference last month, when he made the stunning Ukraine quid pro quo admission, despite how Mulvaney later issued a statement saying that “there was absolutely no quid pro quo.”
“I don’t think you’ll see him going anywhere until after December,” one Trump adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Post. “But the President was very unhappy with that press conference. That was a very bad day for the president.”
The Post reported that Trump’s advisers specifically cited his fraught relationship with his former national security adviser John Bolton as an example. On Monday, the Post reported that Bolton allies were dismayed when they learned that Mulvaney was attempting to join a lawsuit filed by former Bolton deputy Charles Kupperman to gauge whether he has to comply with a House subpoena. Mulvaney ultimately bailed on the effort Tuesday.
The ongoing battle between Mulvaney and John Bolton was also the subject of a Tuesday report in the New York Times, which additionally mentioned how Mulvaney has privately told colleagues that he’s all but un-fireable because “he knows too much” about the President’s Ukraine pressure campaign to dig up false allegations against his political rivals.
Other advisers, according to the Post, are more concerned with the idea of Trump making yet another major personnel change in the midst of the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“Trump is back asking everyone what they think about Mulvaney,” one senior U.S. official told the Post. “He clearly is upset with him. He’s being advised that the last thing he needs is another major personnel move.”
Last weekend, the Washington Examiner reported on the speculation that Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) could be a potential Mulvaney replacement given his recent trips with Trump to New York and Kentucky — two states that the North Carolina Republican has no association with.
And Trump isn’t the only White House figure that Mulvaney reportedly clashes with. Last Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Mulvaney and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone have been disagreeing over who should take the lead in Trump’s impeachment inquiry response.
Read the Washington Post’s report here.