Trump chief of staff summoned to testify in impeachment probe

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Senior White House Adviser Stephen Miller disembark from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. (Reuters)
Updated 06 November 2019

Trump chief of staff summoned to testify in impeachment probe

  • Mick Mulvaney is the latest administration official to be ordered to testify with the impeachment probe closing in around those nearest the president
  • Mulvaney is the highest-ranking White House official to be summoned in the probe, although he is unlikely to comply

WASHINGTON: US House impeachment investigators on Tuesday summoned President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for a deposition, saying he has “substantial first-hand knowledge” of Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine.
Mulvaney is the latest administration official to be ordered to testify with the impeachment probe closing in around those nearest the president as it proceeds into a new public phase, in which transcripts of closed-door testimony are being released.
Mulvaney is the highest-ranking White House official to be summoned in the probe, although he is unlikely to comply given the White House’s opposition to administration officials cooperating with investigators.
The chairs of the three House committees leading the investigation wrote Mulvaney requesting he appear before the panels on Friday at 9:00 am.
“The investigation has revealed that you may have been directly involved in an effort orchestrated by President Trump, his personal agent, Rudolph Giuliani and others to withhold a coveted White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance in order to pressure (Ukraine) to pursue investigations that would benefit President Trump’s personal political interests,” they wrote.
“Your failure or refusal to appear at the deposition, including at the direction or behest of the president, shall constitute further evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President.”
Last month, Mulvaney publicly stated that the decision to freeze aid was tied to the demand for investigations. He later walked back those comments.
Several current and former officials have defied House subpoenas or voluntary requests to testify.
John Eisenberg, a White House lawyer suspected of involvement in the Ukraine scandal, and Robert Blair, assistant to the president and senior adviser to Mulvaney, were among four officials who ignored calls to testify Monday.
The no-shows continued Tuesday when Wells Griffith, a White House adviser on energy, failed to appear.


French bus driver dies after attack over mask-wearing rules

Updated 3 min 56 sec ago

French bus driver dies after attack over mask-wearing rules

  • Two men have been charged with attempted murder over the attack
  • The two charged with attempted murder are aged 22 and 23 and were previously known to police
BAYONNE: A French bus driver who was badly beaten by passengers after asking them to wear face masks in line with coronavirus rules has died, his family said, sparking tributes from political leaders who condemned his “cowardly” attackers.
Philippe Monguillot, 59, was left brain dead by the attack in the southwestern town of Bayonne last weekend and died in hospital on Friday, his daughter Marie said, after his family decided to switch off his life-support system.
“We decided to let him go. The doctors were in favor and we were as well,” she told AFP.
Two men have been charged with attempted murder over the attack and prosecutor Jerome Bourrier told AFP that he would ask for the charges to be upgraded following Monguillot’s death.
France’s prime minister Jean Castex led tributes to Monguillot.
“The Republic recognizes him as an exemplary citizen and will not forget him. The law will punish the perpetrators of this despicable crime,” he tweeted, describing the attack as “cowardly.”
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who was due to meet some of Bayonne’s bus drivers on Saturday and discuss the security situation, labelled it an “abhorrent act.”
“The coward responsible must not go unpunished,” he added.
Monguillot’s family had organized a silent march in his honor on Wednesday, departing from the bus stop where the assault took place.
His colleagues refused to work after the attack but will resume work on Monday under stepped-up security arrangements, the local operator Keolis said.
This will include security agents being deployed on the long buses that operate in Bayonne and its surrounding area.
Three other people have been charged in connection with the attack, two for failing to assist a person in danger and another for attempting to hide a suspect, the prosecutor’s office said.
The two charged with attempted murder are aged 22 and 23 and were previously known to police.