Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney publicly confirmed on Thursday that President Trump blocked nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Kiev to investigate the Democrats. House Democrats say Mulvaney’s admission could mark a turning point in the impeachment probe. Mulvaney made the comments while being questioned during a televised press briefing at the White House.
Mick Mulvaney: “Did he also mention to me in past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money. Now there was a report” —
Jonathan Karl: “So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he —
Mick Mulvaney: “It was on the” —
Jonathan Karl: — “ordered to withold funding to Ukraine.”
Mick Mulvaney: “The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.”
Jonathan Karl: “But, to be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened, as well.”
Mick Mulvaney: “We do — we do that all the time with foreign policy.”
Mick Mulvaney went on to continue to defend the administration’s actions.
Mick Mulvaney: “And I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
Mick Mulvaney’s comments shocked many in Washington for directly undercutting President Trump’s claim that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. Hours after the press conference ended, Mulvaney accused the media of misconstruing his comments and issued a statement contradicting his previous remarks. The statement read, in part, “Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”