Mulvaney: OK, There Was a Quid Pro Quo

Ruben Fields
October 18, 2019

When asked whether getting Ukraine to investigate Trump's concerns over the 2016 election was a reason for suspending the aid, Mulvaney responded positively. They also were looking at levels of assistance European nations were providing to Ukraine, he said.

After weeks of Republicans warding off attacks by repeating the phrase "no quid pro quo", the President's acting chief of staff conceded exactly the opposite - an unforced error that left legal experts dumbstruck and the GOP in search of a new talking point.

When asked about the optics of a quid pro quo, Mulvaney said the administration does that all the time with their foreign policy and the president's decisions were wholly appropriate.

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.

The top aide, who placed the hold on aid to Ukraine, provided some of the administration's most extensive comments about the uproar over Ukraine that has fueled an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats. "But that's it. That's why we held up the money".

Mulvaney defended the decision to hold the G-7 at a Trump-owned property, saying that "Donald Trump's brand is probably strong enough as it is".

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The New York Times noted that Mulvaney was "referring to Mr. Trump's discredited idea that a server with Hillary Clinton's missing emails was being held by a company based in Ukraine".

"Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election", he said.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee leading the impeachment probe, said, "I think Mr. Mulvaney's acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse".

It is illegal to solicit or receive anything of value from a foreign entity in USA elections.

Sondland also says he was "disappointed" when Trump in May 2019 directed him to talk Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters as officials were trying to set up a meeting between the president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation with any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us", the official said. "As long as it doesn't violate any law...the president gets to use who he wants to".

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