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Mick Mulvaney’s Fox News Rehab That Wasn’t

Mick Mulvaney’s appearance on Fox News Sunday was such a disaster, you have to wonder if he isn’t trying to lose his job as acting White House chief of staff.
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Mick Mulvaney’s appearance on Fox News Sunday today was such a disaster, you have to wonder if he isn’t trying to lose his job as acting White House chief of staff. Or maybe he's just looking to incriminate Donald Trump as a means of covering his own you-know-what.

Fox News Sunday was the only Sunday show Mulvaney appeared on today, which suggests he was looking for some Republican Rehab from Trump TV. But even when host Chris Wallace threw him a lifeline, Mulvaney couldn’t or wouldn't grab it.

Mulvaney botched his ‘clarification” of why aid had been withheld to Ukraine

Wallace began by questioning Mulvaney’s attempted walkback of his implicit admission during a press briefing last week that there had been a quid pro quo for the aid to Ukraine, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. Wallace thoughtfully didn't go into it much but Mulvaney is the guy who placed the block on the aid to Ukraine. The Washington Post described him as "a key facilitator of the campaign to pressure Ukraine" for political dirt to help Donald Trump's re-election effort.

WALLACE: I believe that anyone listening to what you said in that briefing could come to only one conclusion.

[…]

You were asked specifically by Jonathan Karl, was investigating Democrats one of the conditions for holding up the aide?

MULVANEY: Yes.

WALLACE: Was that part of the quid pro quo? And you said, it happens all the time.

MULVANEY: Yes. But go back and watch what I said before that. … There was a long answer about corruption and a long answer about foreign aid.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: No, you totally said that.

Mulvaney bizarrely claimed that there were two reasons for withholding the Congressionally authorized aid: corruption and concerns as to whether other countries were doing their part. But Wallace noted that during the briefing, Mulvaney had specifically said there were three reasons.

WALLACE: And the fact is, after that exchange with Jonathan Karl, you were asked another time why the aide was held up. What was the condition for the aid? And you didn't mention two conditions, you mentioned three conditions.
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And I want to -- and let's listen to all three of them because this -- you stated it very clearly. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MULVANEY: Three issues for that. The corruption in the country, whether or not other countries were participating in support of the Ukraine, and whether or not they were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice. That's completely legitimate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

After more back and forth, Mulvaney was reduced to blaming the “rapid fire” nature of the briefing:

MULVANEY: Can I see how people took at the wrong way? Absolutely. But I never said there were was quid pro quo, because there isn't.

Again, Chris, you've been in these -- in these briefings. You know how back-and-forth is. You know how rapid-fire it is. Look to the facts on the ground, things that you can actually sort of certify.

And what should put this issue to bed is that the money flowed without any connection whatsoever to the DNC server.

WALLACE: But you -- in your first answer which I gave, you said that's why we held up the money. First, you just said here, that it was for two reasons. Now, you're acknowledging it was for three reasons.

If you held up the money for three reasons, that was -- that's a quid pro quo.

There was also discussion about the now-infamous “do me a favor” July 25th phone call between Donald Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Then Wallace moved on to Syria.

Mulvaney made no use of Wallace’s “attack Biden” lifeline

Wallace returned to the Ukraine matter by handing Mulvaney a golden opportunity to argue he had legitimately withheld aid to Ukraine and that the Bidens were every bit as corrupt as any allegations made against Trump. And Mulvaney blew it!

WALLACE: [O]ne of the people who was testifying in Congress this week in the House impeachment investigation also said that he was investigation also said that he was so concerned about Hunter Biden getting that job in Ukraine in 2015 that he went to the vice president staff, Biden was then vice president, and said, this looks really bad. And that he was turned away. Your reaction?

MULVANEY: Good. I'm surprised I haven't heard about it since. My guess is if it happened during the Trump administration, the news media would have reported on it at very next day.

WALLACE: I'm asking you about it, sir.

MULVANEY: I know you are. And I appreciate that. I'm hearing about it for the first time, I look forward to finding out more about it. It's the first I've heard of that piece of information.

WALLACE: You had not heard -- it's been reported widely in the last 48 hours.

MULVANEY: No, I've been busy in the last 48 hours, Chris.

Mulvaney sounded peeved about Trump’s G7 decisions and he said Trump is ‘in the hospitality business’

Finally, Wallace asked Mulvaney why Trump reversed his decision to hold the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral golf club last night, two days after Mulvaney had announced the summit would be there.

MULVANEY: I -- we talked about it at great length last night, and it's not lost on me that if we made the decision on Thursday, we wouldn't have had the press conference on Thursday regarding -- regarding everything else, but that's fine.

But we did talk about it last night and I honestly think what he is out in the tweet was real. The president isn't one for holding back his feelings and his emotions about something. He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback.

At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world, and he wanted to put the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could. And he was very comfortable doing it at Doral, and I think we're all surprised at the level of pushback.

They are surprised at the level of pushback? It was a blatant violation of the Constitution and obvious corruption regardless.

Then there was the “hospitality business” business.

WALLACE: I just have to pick up -- you say he considers himself in the hospitality business.

MULVANEY: Sure. WALLACE: He's the president of the United States.

[…]

Does he understand that it looked lousy?

MULVANEY: Well, I think he knows. He thinks people think it looks lousy.

Could we have put on an excellent G7 at Doral? Absolutely. Will we end up putting on an excellent G7 someplace else? Yes, we will.

On Thursday, the day of Mulvaney’s disastrous briefing, I predicted he’d be out the door within two weeks, max. If anything, yesterday’s appearance on Fox News Sunday suggests he’ll be gone sooner.

Watch it above, from the October 20, 2019 Fox News Sunday.

(Transcript excerpts via Fox News)

Published with permission from News Hounds.

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