On Thursday, the White House’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, held a press briefing with journalists to discuss an update on the G7 Summit. While the focus of the briefing was supposed to be on Trump’s decision to hold the summit at his Doral resort in Miami-Dade county Florida, the conversation quickly turned to Ukraine.
In an effort to clear up a report that stated the White House had concerns that if they didn’t “pay out the money” to Ukraine, it would be “illegal” and “unlawful,” Mulvaney clearly stated that Donald Trump’s withholding of the funds was tied to the fact that he wanted an investigation into the 2016 election.
Mulvaney claims that Trump was considering a number of factors as to why the U.S. shouldn’t send financial aid to the country. But then says to reporters, “Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that,” Mulvaney insists. “But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money.”
A journalist in the room then shot back, “Let’s be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is: Funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well.”
Mulvaney responds by saying, “We do it all the time.” Adding that everybody needs to just “Get over it.”
Today, some Republican members of Congress are having a hard time doing that. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told reporters, “You don’t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period.” Others echoed her sentiments.
In a statement from Mulvaney following the press conference, he said “Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”
However, in the real world, unhearing what you’ve already heard and unseeing what you’ve already seen isn’t actually a thing.