Trump campaign was “blindsided” by Sondland testimony, sources say

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Democrats’ repeated references to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney highlight his continued centrality to the impeachment probe — a spotlight that’s shaken his position with President Trump.

Ever since Mulvaney took to the White House briefing room to acknowledge a quid pro quo and told reporters to “get over it,” his words have proven consistently problematic for Republicans who argue exactly the opposite. 

Mulvaney attempted to walk the statement back, but his on-camera words have persisted.

That was clear today when Rep. Joaquin Castro played two clips of Mulvaney’s press briefing (or attempted to — there were some technical issues).

Sondland also placed Mulvaney closer to the center of the alleged scheme, saying he was “in the loop” along with other top officials, though acknowledged he’d only held a single formal meeting with the chief of staff and it wasn’t about Ukraine.

Remember: Mulvaney has refused to cooperate with congressional investigators, who want to know more about his role. He’s defied a subpoena and executed some complicated legal wrangling, much to the chagrin of the White House counsel’s office, with whom Mulvaney is feuding.

The attention on Mulvaney has not helped his standing with Trump, who views it as another negative headline amid many.

People familiar with the situation have said over the past weeks that it’s unlikely Trump would dismiss Mulvaney amid the current crisis in the hopes of preventing further chaos.

But Mulvaney will have been in his job for year in January — and there’s little indication Trump is prepared to drop “acting” from his title.

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