Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney spoke with host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” where he insisted that he did not admit to wrongdoing by President Trump after comments he made during a press briefing Thursday, that was interpreted by Democrats and the leftwing media as “evidence of a quid pro quo” linking military aid to Ukraine with an investigation of potential Ukrainian involvement with Democrats during the 2016 election.
Democrats have accused Trump of temporarily delaying $391 million in aid in order to leverage Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into helping the probe. Mulvaney seemed to indicate that the two were connected, but now he claims it was a misunderstanding, as reported by Fox News.
Asked why did he say during the press briefing that President Trump had ordered a quid pro quo– that aid to Ukraine depended on investigating the Democrats, Mick Mulvaney replied, “Again, that’s not what I said. That’s what people said that I said. Here’s what I said, I’ll say it again and hopefully people will listen this time.”
“There were two reasons that we held up the aid. The first one was the rapid corruption in Ukraine, Mulvaney said. “Ukraine, by the way, is so bad in Ukraine that in 2014, Congress passed a law requiring us to make sure corruption was moving in the right direction. Corruption is a big deal. Everybody knows it. The President was also concerned about whether or not other nations, specifically European nations, were helping with foreign aid to the Ukraine as well.”
“I did mention in the past that the President had mentioned to me from time to time about the DNC server. He [had] mentioned the DNC server to other people publicly, he even mentioned it to President Zelensky in the phone call. But it wasn’t connected to the aid and that’s where I think people got sidetracked this week at that press conference,” he continued.
“The reason that we held back the aid were the two reasons I mentioned and I can prove it. The aid flowed. Once we were able to satisfy ourselves that corruption– they were actually doing better with it, we got that information from our folks, from the conversation with Mr. Zelensky. And once we were able to establish, we had the office of management budget do research on other country’s aid to Ukraine. It turns out they don’t give hardly any lethal aid, but they do give a considerable sum of money, and not only delayed. Once those two things were cleared, the money flowed. There was never any connections between the flow of money and the server,” Mulvaney explained. (Continued Below)
Mulvaney said that it is legitimate for the President to want to know what’s going on with the ongoing investigation into the server. “Everybody acknowledges that. It’s completely legitimate to ask about that,” he stated.
“Number two: it’s legitimate to tie the aid to corruption, it’s legitimate to tie the aid to foreign aid from other countries. But, I never said there was a ‘quid pro quo’ [be]cause there isn’t. Look to the facts on the ground, things that you can actually sort of certify. And what should put this issue to bed is that the money flowed without any connection whatsoever to the DNC server,” Mulvaney continued. [Emphasized].
“The President never mentions the aid at all in the phone call, doesn’t say, ‘Oh, by the way, I need you to do this, this, and this or else the money won’t flow.’ We all know enough about this President that if he feels very strongly about something, he’s going to put that out there directly. And that didn’t happen,” he added. “I recognize that folks– that I didn’t speak clearly maybe on Thursday, that folks misinterpreted what I said, but the facts are absolutely clear and they are there for everyone to see.” (Video Below)
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s full remarks:
(Related: At The Press Conference, Jim Acosta Gets Denied By Mick Mulvaney After ‘Being Very Rude’)