If you were watching CNN or other liberal media outlets Thursday afternoon, you might have heard the bizarre claim that the White House has admitted to a quid pro quo with Ukraine. CNN even had a breaking news banner saying as much:
This is fake news. What CNN and other liberal media outlets are editorializing about is acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s statement during a press briefing about the withholding of military aid to Ukraine. “The money held up had absolutely nothing to do with Biden,” Mulvaney said. He pointed out that Trump wanted Ukraine’s help with “an ongoing investigation into the 2016 election” involving the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s server, which was believed to have been hacked by Russian agents and ultimately ended up in Ukraine.
Did Mulvaney ever use the term quid pro quo or admit to one? Nope. Here’s how CNBC described the exchange:
While Mulvaney did not himself use the term “quid pro quo,” when he was told by a reporter during a White House press conference that the situation of withholding aid to get Ukraine was in fact a quid pro quo, Mulvaney said, “We do that all the time.”
“You’re saying the president of the US can’t ask someone to help with an ongoing public investigation?” Mulvaney said.
During a July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky — at a time when the White House was withholding military aid from Zelensky’s country — Trump asked Zelensky to “get to the bottom” of questions about the 2016 election.
None of this is new information. We knew from the transcript that President Trump asked for Ukraine’s help in the ongoing investigation into the 2016 election. We also know that Ukraine didn’t even know that the military aid was being withheld until a month after Trump’s call with President Zelensky.
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 17, 2019
“I have news for everybody,” Mulvaney said. “Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy … that’s going to happen. Elections have consequences.”
This is true. Obama threatened to cut off aid to Nigeria over anti-gay legislation in the country in 2011, and again in 2013 over corruption issues. Joe Biden and the entire media argue that his threat to withhold a billion-dollar loan to Ukraine unless they fired their head prosecutor was not a quid pro quo because, they say, the prosecutor was corrupt.
Despite this, the media is claiming, falsely, that the White House has admitted to a quid pro quo. Other outlets like HuffPost, The Daily Beast, Washington Post, have all echoed the claim. The New York Times falsely claimed in a tweet that Mulvaney admitted aid was cut off to Ukraine to pressure them to investigate Democrats. Adam Schiff is claiming Mulvaney’s statement has made things “much, much worse.”
Yeah, not at all.