WASHINGTON — Mick Mulvaney, who was the acting White House chief of staff for President Donald Trump, testified Thursday before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.
Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff in 2019 and early 2020, arrived for his closed-door deposition with the committee around 1:40 p.m. and departed 2½ hours later.
As he was leaving, reporters asked Mulvaney whether he was in contact with anyone from the White House from December 2020 to January 2021. "I haven’t talked to anybody in the White House in a long time," he responded, without elaborating.
Earlier in the day, Mulvaney told reporters he would tell the committee "the truth" when he was asked what he would say during the deposition.
When Trump tapped Mark Meadows to replace Mulvaney as chief of staff, he appointed Mulvaney, a former House member from South Carolina who was also the director of the Office of Management and Budget, as the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland.
Mulvaney told CNBC he resigned from that role on the night of the Capitol riot. "I called [then-Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” he said Jan. 7, 2021, in an interview on "Squawkbox."
“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in."
Three sources familiar with the plans said earlier Thursday that Mulvaney was expected to sit for a taped deposition with the committee.
Pompeo said Thursday that he's had discussions about potentially speaking with the committee.
“We’ve had discussions with them about, uh, potentially appearing before them, trying to make sure we understand what it is, uh, they are asking for," he said in an interview on Fox News. "I am happy to cooperate with things that are fair and transparent and deliver good outcomes to the American people.”
The House Jan. 6 committee has been airing public hearings about the lead-up to that day and the actions Trump took or didn’t take as the insurrection unfolded. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the vice chair of the panel, has said that the investigation is ongoing, that new witnesses have come forward and that the committee will hold more hearings in September.
The Justice Department is also investigating Trump's actions leading up to the riot as part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, an administration official familiar with the investigation said this week.
The spokesperson for the committee told NBC News on Thursday that it has created a formal path to share investigative material, including witness transcripts and evidence, with the Justice Department, confirming remarks by its chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to Politico.
“We’ve put a template together for sharing information, sharing it with Justice. My understanding is there’s general agreement on it,” Thompson told the site.
Mulvaney tweeted last month that he believes the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the former top aide to Meadows, who said Trump got into a physical altercation with a Secret Service officer in an attempt to join his supporters at the Capitol on the day of the riot.
"My guess is that before this is over, we will be hearing testimony from Ornato, Engle, and Meadows," he wrote. "This is explosive stuff. If Cassidy is making this up, they will need to say that. If she isn’t they will have to corroborate. I know her. I don’t think she is lying."
Anthony Ornato was the head of Trump's Secret Service security detail until he became the deputy White House chief of staff for operations in late 2019, and Bobby Engle was the head of his security detail at the time of the riot.
After members of the panel revealed last month at a public hearing that they were worried that Trump allies were trying to intimidate witnesses cooperating with their investigation, Mulvaney said that could represent a "serious problem" for the former president.
"The Press is going to focus on some sensational revelations from today: guns, grabbing a secret service agent, etc. But the real bomb that got dropped was the implied charge of witness tampering," he tweeted. "If there is hard evidence, that is a serious problem for the former President."