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“Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, wants to change his story about Ukraine. On Thursday, at a press briefing, Mulvaney confirmed that when President Donald Trump suspended military aid to Ukraine in July, one reason was that Trump wanted Ukraine to help investigate Trump’s domestic opponents for conspiring against him in the 2016 election. “I was involved with the process by which the money was held up,” Mulvaney told reporters. There were “three issues for that,” he explained: “the corruption of the country; whether or not other countries were participating in the support of the Ukraine; and whether [Ukrainian officials] were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice.”
A few hours after the briefing, prodded by Trump, his lawyers, and other administration officials, Mulvaney tried to take back his confession. “The media has decided to misconstrue my comments,” he declared in a formal statement. “There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”
But Mulvaney can’t take back the story he told at the briefing, because it wasn’t a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of what somebody else told him. No one was more personally involved in the aid suspension than Mulvaney. No one heard the president state his motives more often or more clearly. Mulvaney is the most direct witness. What he said at the briefing is eyewitness testimony.”
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