White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Thursday that the flow of security assistance to Ukraine was not conditioned on Kiev investigating a conspiracy related to 2016 election interference, walking back statements he made earlier in the day.
Mulvaney issued a statement Thursday afternoon accusing the media of “misconstruing” his earlier remarks to the press at the White House “to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump.”
“Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election,” Mulvaney said. “The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server.”
Mulvaney insisted the only reason security aid was held up was because the administration was reviewing whether other nations were contributing enough and and out of concerns over corruption.
Mulvaney indicated earlier Thursday that the Trump administration held up military assistance to Ukraine in part because Trump wanted Kiev to investigate allegations about Ukraine’s involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server.
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