White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (File pic)
White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (File pic)

Mick Mulvaney admits Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine into probing Democrats

ANI | Updated: Oct 18, 2019 06:11 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 18 (ANI): White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in a stunning admission on Thursday said that President Donald Trump froze nearly USD 400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats.
Mulvaney said that he only knew of a US request to investigate the handling of a Democratic National Committee server that was hacked in the 2016 presidential election, but text messages between US diplomats have pressurised Ukraine to commit to an investigation into Burisma, the company with which former Vice President Joe Biden's son sat as board member, CNN reported.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing in Ukraine by either Biden, he insisted.
"That's why we held up the money," Mulvaney was quoted as saying.
Mulvaney's confirmation came after weeks when Trump denied the existence of any political quid pro quo in his withholding of security aid to Ukraine.
However, later, Mulvaney attempted to claim that he did not admit to the quid pro quo and answering affirmatively, "The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption."
"There never was any condition on the flow of the aid related to the matter of the DNC server," he said in a written statement.
In an unusual statement expressing public distance from the White House, a senior Justice Department official responded, "If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation of any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us."
An effort by the Trump administration officials to pressure Ukraine into carrying out investigations into 2016 elections and the Bidens has alarmed diplomatic and national security officials across the government. (ANI)