Trump Appoints Mulvaney Deputy as Special Rep for International Telecommunications Policy

December 24, 2019 Updated: December 24, 2019
FONT BFONT SText size

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s top aide, Robert Blair, has been appointed as the special representative for international telecommunications policy, the White House announced on Monday, Dec. 23.

Blair will also help support the president’s 5G efforts, which aim to provide faster wireless network speeds, and will be led by the Assistant to the President for Economy Policy, Larry Kudlow.

“In this capacity, Mr. Blair will lead the strategic prioritization of United States efforts to promote a secure and reliable global communications system,” they said.

“He will coordinate interagency efforts and serve as a liaison to industry, non-governmental, and international stakeholders to promote the development, deployment, and operation of the next-generation telecommunications infrastructure that will provide the security, data privacy, and stability required for a fully interconnected world.”

Blair will continue to serve as Assistant to the President and the Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff, they added.

Before joining the White House, Blair worked as the Associate Director for Defense Programs at the Office of Management and Budget and a Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of State.

His new role comes nearly two months after he refused to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment investigation into Trump.

Blair was subpoenaed by the Democrats on Nov. 3 to testify in the inquiry in which they accused the President of pressuring Ukraine to dig up damaging information on Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.

They also accused him of withholding $400 million of military aid to Ukraine, claims which he has vehemently denied.

However, Blair did not comply with the subpoena on instructions from the White House, for whom he previously worked for more than a decade as a staff member of the Appropriations Committee.

Politico reports that in a closed-door meeting, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said that evidence “revealed that Mr. Blair was a percipient witness to the President’s misconduct.”

“We can only infer, therefore, that the White House’s effort to block Mr. Blair from testifying is to prevent the committees from learning additional evidence of Presidential misconduct and that Mr. BIair’s testimony would corroborate and confirm other witnesses’ accounts of such misconduct, including Mr. Mulvaney’s admission from the White House Briefing Room that the Ukraine military aid was frozen by the President in order to pressure Ukraine into initiating investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.”

The House voted last week to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to the inquiry into the Ukraine call.

The president will now be put on trial in the Senate. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she would delay sending the articles of impeachment over until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agrees to a “fair” trial.

During a press conference on Dec, 19, Pelosi defended her decision to delay the articles, calling McConnell a “rogue leader.”