WASHINGTON (CN) – As his chief of staff defied a subpoena from House Democrats in the impeachment probe Friday morning, President Donald Trump said he is not concerned about the testimony that has come out of the investigation thus far.
“I’m not concerned about anything,” Trump told reporters at the White House this morning. “The testimony has all been fine.”
Trump made the comments days before the House is scheduled to hold the first public hearings in the impeachment investigation, which Trump again dismissed as a “hoax” and a “continuation” of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump also said he would be willing to turn over records on a second call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, predating the infamous July 25 call that helped launch the impeachment probe.
“So I have a second call I have with the president, which actually I believe came before this one,” Trump told reporters, according to a White House pool report. “And now they all want that one. And if they want it, I’ll give it to them.”
Trump made the remarks after Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, bucked a subpoena House impeachment investigators sent Thursday, seeking his appearance at a closed-door deposition this morning. According to multiple reports, Mulvaney’s private attorney told the committee minutes before he was supposed to testify that the White House had told him to skip the deposition, citing absolute immunity.
When asked about Mulvaney’s testimony on Friday, Trump said he didn’t “want to give credibility to a corrupt witch hunt.”
The House committees marshaling the impeachment investigation have said they will consider defied subpoenas as evidence of obstruction.
Mulvaney is seen as a key witness for House impeachment investigators because he could provide insight into whether a key military-aid package to Ukraine was tied to that country’s public announcement of investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, Biden’s son and the 2016 presidential election.
In their letter requesting his testimony, House investigators noted that evidence in the probe suggests Mulvaney has “substantial first hand-knowledge” of key details relevant to the inquiry.
“Specifically, 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 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue investigations that would benefit President Trump’s personal political interests and jeopardized our national security in attempting to do so,” the letter states.
Mulvaney had stunned the public at a press conference in October when he said the White House had tied investigations in Ukraine, particularly into the origins of attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, to the withholding of a nearly $400 million aid package from the country. On the July 25 phone call with Zelensky, Trump raised a conspiracy theory that ties Ukraine, rather than Russia, to the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee.
Mulvaney later attempted to back away from the comments, saying he had been misunderstood in the press conference.
At the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry starting next week, the House is scheduled hear from top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, senior State Department official George Kent and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich.