White House chief of staff: Trump withheld Ukraine aid for political reasons

Tanya Simon
October 17, 2019

Mulvaney said Thursday that the aid was initially withheld because "everybody knows (Ukraine) is a corrupt place" and Trump wanted it to clean up its own government.

The G-7 summit will be held June 10 to 12.

Trump had first mooted the possibility of holding the G7 Summit at his Miami resort during his visit to France for this year's meeting in August.

"We sat around one night, we were back in the dining room going over it with our advance team and we had the list and he goes, 'what about Doral?' And I was like, 'that's not the craziest idea, that makes flawless sense, '" Mulvaney said. But Trump told Mulvaney he was also concerned about Ukraine's role in the 2016 campaign.

Democrats immediately jumped on Mulvaney's statement, declaring that it was proof that the president had a "quid pro quo" agreement with the foreign aid.

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"Did he also mention to me in past the corruption related to the DNC server?"

What's more, NBC News reported last week that the White House's decision to block the release of nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine - a key element of the scandal - went through the White House Office of Management and Budget. "But that's it, and that's why we held up the money". If Kent's testimony was accurate, it suggests the acting White House chief of staff deliberately shifted authority of US policy toward Ukraine away from the proper officials.

"Are you saying that it's okay for the USA government to hold up aid and require a foreign government to investigate political opponents of the president?" a reporter asked Mulvaney during the press briefing.

"Mr. Mulvaney's acknowledgment means things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse", said House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, California Democrat.

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