Mick Mulvaney aggressively rejected claims on Sunday that he admitted last week a quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, arguing that it was a misunderstanding and that no such agreement occurred.
The acting chief of staff of the White House told a press conference at Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon that held up an aid package to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for hacking Democratic Party emails in 2016.
On Thursday evening, Mulvaney attempted to claim that he did not admit to the quid pro quo despite clearly being asked if the Trump administration withheld funding for Ukraine for an investigation into the DNC server and answering affirmatively, CNN reported.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace pressed the aide on the remarks, asking why he initially said that “aid to Ukraine depended upon investigating the Democrats.”
“OK that’s not what I said, that’s what people said I said,” Mulvaney said. “There were two reasons that we held up the aid, we’ve talked about this at some length — the first one was the rampant corruption in Ukraine … the President was also concerned about whether or not other nations, specifically European nations, were helping with foreign aid to Ukraine as well. I did then mention that in the past the President had mentioned to me, from time to time, about the DNC server, he’s mentioned the DNC server to other people publicly, he even mentioned it to President (Volodymyr) Zelensky in the phone call — but it wasn’t connected to the aid and that’s where I think people got side tracked this weekend at the press conference.”
Wallace argued that “anyone listening to what (Mulvaney) said in that briefing could come to only one conclusion,” and played two clips from Thursday’s televised appearance.