On Sunday, the acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney stated that he offered not to resign for indicating last week that President Trump had sought a political favor from Ukraine in exchange for military aid, comments he has since removed.
Mulvaney told reporters using a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor, “I never said there was a quid pro quo because there isn’t.” On Thursday, Mulvaney told reporters that Trump’s decision to hold back $391 million in aid to Ukraine was connected in part of his desire for an investigation by Kiev into a debunked theory that a Democratic Nation Committee (DNC) computer server was held in Ukraine.
Mulvaney was asked by reporters what he had just described was a quid pro quo, he replied that “We do that all the time with foreign policy.” His remarks at a White House news conference erupted agitation and the president’s Republican allies became frustrated. On the same day, in a statement, Mulvaney walked back the comments.
But after weeks in which the president argued that he had done nothing wrong, Mulvaney’s remarks undermined the core arguments that Trump and his advisers have made against the effort to oust him from office in a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry.
“This Scam going on right now by the Democrats against the Republican Party, and me, was all about a perfect phone call I had with the Ukrainian President.”
Later on Sunday, as part of a series of tweets, Trump said: “He’s already stated, NO PRESSURE!”
“I’m very happy working there Did I have the perfect press conference, no, but again the facts are on our side…I still think I’m doing a pretty good job as the chief of staff and I think the president agrees.” Trump has said.
Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week,” “I never saw that in the decision-making process that I was a part of …the conversation was always around what were the strategic implications, would that money get to the right place or would there be corruption in Ukraine and the money wouldn’t flow to the mission that it was intended for.”
Several Republicans were inflamed including Senator Lisa Murkowski who told reporters foreign aid should not be held up for a political initiative. Mulvaney said on “Axios on HBO,” “It was shocking, in my opinion ….and a mistake.”
“If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing,” he said.
“Republicans face a simple question: is the president allowed to pressure a foreign country into interfering in our elections? History will remember their answer, or their silence,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter.