Mick Mulvaney tries to walk back admission of Trump's quid pro quo


The White House chief of staff admitted on Thursday that Trump did indeed demand an investigation in exchange for releasing Ukrainian military aid.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney now says his comments about the Trump administration's decision to hold up military aid to Ukraine have been misconstrued.

Mulvaney issued his statement after Donald Trump's outside legal counsel tried to distance itself from Mulvaney's earlier comments at a press briefing.

At an earlier briefing, Mulvaney directly said that Trump's decision to hold up military aid to Ukraine was linked to his demand that Kyiv investigate the Democratic National Committee and the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Mulvaney has revised those comments to say there was "no quid pro quo" between Ukrainian military aid and that country's willingness to investigate the 2016 U.S. election.

Mulvaney adds that Trump never told him to withhold money until the Ukrainians took action related to a server Democrats used in the 2016 election.

Mulvaney's initial comments raised questions at the Justice Department and brought swift rebuke from Democrats, who cast his words as an admission of wrongdoing. Mulvaney said Trump did nothing improper because he was asking for help investigating a prior election.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said after Mulvaney's admission, "things have just gone from very, very bad to much, much worse."

Schiff said the idea of withholding military aid is "a phenomenal breach of the president's duty to defend our national security."

Trump, for his part, said he still has "a lot of confidence" in Mulvaney.