FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2019 file photo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney speaks in the White House briefing room in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Mulvaney won't sue over impeachment, declines to cooperate

November 12, 2019 - 10:53 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that he no longer plans to sue over the House impeachment proceedings and will instead follow President Donald Trump's directions and decline to cooperate.

It's the latest reversal in position by Mulvaney, who last week asked to join the lawsuit of another Trump adviser before changing his mind Monday and saying that he intended to bring his own case.

In a court filing Tuesday, Mulvaney said he would rely on Trump's instructions "as supported by an opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, in not appearing for the relevant deposition."

Mulvaney had been subpoenaed to appear last week for a closed-door deposition before the House impeachment panel but did not show up.

He then asked to join a lawsuit brought by Charles Kupperman, the president's former deputy national security adviser. That case asked a judge to decide whether Kupperman had to comply with a subpoena from the House or a competing directive from the White House to not testify.

Mulvaney had argued that his circumstances were similar to that of Kupperman, but lawyers for both Kupperman and the House of Representatives opposed his request to join the suit and highlighted what they said were key differences. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said in a conference call on Monday that he was "not inclined" to grant Mulvaney's request.

The Justice Department legal opinion that Mulvaney references says close advisers to the president are immune from testifying to Congress because "preparing for such examinations would force them to divert time and attention from their duties to the President at the whim of congressional committees."

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