Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is catching flak over a whistleblower complaint that has led to an impeachment proceeding for US President Donald Trump, unnamed sources say, according to CNN.
If CNN sources are to be believed, Trump is not mad at Mulvaney for releasing the summary of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; instead, they say, Trump is angry because Mulvaney has no strategy to defend the document now that it has been released.
One source alleged that there is frustration brewing over the general lack of a response plan to deal with the fallout of the whistleblower complaint.
White House Reaction
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed the story on Saturday as “manufactured palace intrigue.”
"The fact is that President Trump and this Administration have done nothing wrong," Grisham said in a statement. "Why would we need to implement a strategy to explain the contents of a document we willingly released? Sounds to me like more anonymous troublemakers working to stir the pot for their own selfish reasons."
Mulvaney’s staffers also denied the rumours.
"That literally has no basis in reality," said John Czwartacki, a senior adviser to Mulvaney.
Despite allegations, CNN sources reportedly said that Trump is not willing to fire Mulvaney, citing the level of ongoing chaos at the White House.
Since Mulvaney took the office from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly almost a year ago, he has retained the “acting” title. As the old Russian proverb goes, "nothing is more permanent than a temporary solution."
A complaint filed by an anonymous whistleblower alleges that Trump used his power as president to press Zelensky to probe rival presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son's involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs. In an attempt to debunk these claims, the White House released a transcript of the call.
Many US lawmakers, including a number of Republicans, pointed out that the transcript did not tie Trump's request for a "favor" directly to any form of pressure, such as threats of withholding military funding - known as quid pro quo - as claimed by the Dems.
Despite that, Dems claim that the content of the document supports their allegations, citing Trump's words that the US does "much more" for Ukraine than its European neighbors do.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi again suggested that there was a trace of a "Russian hand" in the situation.
"It's wrong for a country… as we saw with Russian interference… and by the way I think Russia has a hand in this", Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC earlier this week.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the suggestion as paranoid.
"Well, it's paranoia that, I think, is obvious to all", Lavrov stressed Friday.