WASHINGTON — Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, reversed gears on Tuesday and said he will follow President Trump’s order to defy a House subpoena and refuse to testify as part of its impeachment inquiry.
“After further consideration, Mr. Mulvaney does not intend to pursue litigation regarding the deposition subpoena issued to him by the U.S. House of Representatives,” his lawyers said in a notice filed in court. “Rather, he will rely on the direction of the president” and government lawyers “in not appearing for the relevant deposition.”
The decision was the latest twist in an odd subplot in the impeachment drama. While other current administration officials have either obeyed the president’s order not to cooperate with the House or defied Mr. Trump and testified anyway, Mr. Mulvaney had sought a third route by seeking to join an existing lawsuit asking a court what he should do.
The plaintiff in that existing lawsuit, Charles M. Kupperman, a former deputy to John R. Bolton when he was the president’s national security adviser, wanted nothing to do with Mr. Mulvaney and fought his attempt to be added to the litigation.
After a judge indicated on Monday that he was inclined to side with Mr. Kupperman to keep Mr. Mulvaney out of the suit, Mr. Mulvaney withdrew his request and said he would file a lawsuit of his own. Then he changed his mind again.