Look out World’s Dumbest Criminals, a new contender has emerged. On Thursday, acting White House chief of staff admitted in a press conference that President Trump withheld foreign aid to get Ukraine’s help in the US election, reports Huffpost. The alleged quid pro quo, in which Trump froze millions of dollars in US security aid to the Ukraine in order to pressure them into investigating Democrats, has been at the center of Trump’s impeachment inquiry and has now been confirmed by his acting chief of staff.
The admission came when Mulvaney insisted that “he knew only of a US request to investigate handling of a Democratic National Committee server hacked in the 2016 election,” CNN reports. However, text messages between US diplomats reveal that there was an effort to get Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the company of which former Vice President Joe Biden’s son sat on the board. Mulvaney’s claim that the Trump administration withheld aid from Ukraine to get them to investigate presumed DNC email server and corruption is misleading. Yes, while Trump did reportedly bring up those issues on his call with Ukraine’s president, but he also brought up the idea of an investigate into Biden, which is when the president brought up the “favor”.
When ABC News reporter Jon Karl pointed out that withholding aid unless Ukraine investigated the Democrats is indeed a quid pro quo, Mulvaney responded, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.” “Get over it,” he added. “There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy. …That is going to happen. Elections have consequences.” As Huffpost pointed out, foreign policy negotiations often call for trading a move by one country with a policy change by the other. Trump’s exchange is different in that the “favor” he asked of Ukraine was for personal, political benefit, and that’s what makes it corrupt.
Following the press conference, the White House
was reportedly shocked by Mulvaney’s comments. White House officials
expected him to repeat the
lie message that there was no quid pro quo
and the House was just being unfair to Trump. But thanks to Mulvaney’s little
Freudian slip, White House officials were scrambling trying to decide whether
they should spin it, double down, or blame others. It seems they’ve decided to
blame their favorite target: the media.
So, even though there is actual video of Mulvaney admitting that the US withheld Ukrainian aid for political gain, Mulvaney then walked backed his admission only hours after the press conference. In a lengthy statement, Mulvaney criticized the press for reporting on his own comments. “Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump,” he said in response to his own words being reported. “Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”
Mulvaney’s comments have made things “much worse” for President Trump, The Hill reports. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters, “I think Mr. Mulvaney’s acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse.” Schiff added, “The idea that vital military systems would be withheld for such a patently political reason, for the reason of serving the president’s reelection campaign, is a phenomenal breach of the president’s duty to defend our national security.” It’s come to the point that they’re literally admitting to the crimes they’re accused of. Mulvaney, Trump, the whole administration are not the criminal masterminds they think themselves to be, they’re bumbling fools and they need to be held accountable for the painfully obvious crimes they have and continue to commit.
(Image: Leah Millis / Reuters)