Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney shocker reporters on Thursday when he admitted that the Trump administration had been involved in a quid pro quo. In response to questions regarding the decision to withhold funding from Ukraine, Mick Mulvaney said the now infamous phrase: "Get over it".
Mulvaney claimed that there will always be political influence in foreign policy, regardless of who the president is. He confirmed that the funds would be given to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into the 2016 election.
Democrats voiced their opposition to Mulvaney's statement, arguing that policy should be dictated by national interests. Later, Mulvaney walked back his remarks saying there was "absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election." The Trump campaign has since added a "Get over it" t-shirt to their store, profiting on the controversial statement.
Regarding the progress of the impeachment inquiry, the committee heard testimony from a number of people last week. Many of them reported feeling concerned about the involvement of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in American foreign affairs.
Guiliani was put in charge of what is being called a "shadow foreign policy" in Ukraine by President Trump. This was part of an effort to take Ukraine policy out of the normal channels, placing it instead in the hands of special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Together they were meant to serve as intermediaries between Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Ukraine, and the Whitehouse in order to establish investigations into Trump's political opponents and a conspiracy theory involving Ukraine and the 2016 election.
Since all of this has come to light, Perry has resigned, though he claims this has nothing to do with the impeachment inquiry. On the same day, he and the Energy Department announced they would not be complying with Congressional subpoenas. Perry says that he will not cooperate with the inquiry until the House votes on impeachment.
This echoes a letter the Trump administration sent to the House last week explaining that they felt the impeachment inquiry was an attempt to overturn the 2016 election, that their complying would weaken the powers of the Presidency in the future, and that by not holding a vote on impeachment in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi started the inquiry in a "legally unsupportable" way.
To be clear, Pelosi has the power to call impeachment any way she likes. All she needs is a majority in the House. However, this refusal is not without its risks: the public may not feel the inquiry is lawful without a vote, and this could hurt Democrats in 2020. This also reflects a trend of secrecy established by democrats in this process. All depositions have been closed-door, and some Republicans have complained about a lack of access.
This week, we can expect depositions from a number of officials, though the schedule is subject to change. Arguably the most important person Congress will be hearing from is Top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor. Taylor expressed concerns with the decision to withhold aid from Ukraine in a text conversation with Gordon Sondland. He is currently scheduled to be deposed on Tuesday.