Speech defends the maneuver as "absolutely appropriate".
"In the past, did you mention to me the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But this is why we kept the money, "Mulvani said, referring to an unproven conspiracy theory that a hacking computer server of the Democratic National Committee was taken to Ukraine in 2016 to hide evidence that Kiev, not Moscow,
Mulvani also said the funds were withheld because European countries were "really, really deadlocked when it comes to deadly aid" for Ukraine and whether Ukraine's leaders " cooperated in an ongoing investigation with "
But he characterizes the decision to use congressional assistance as a common practice, citing other cases in which the Trump administration has denied assistance to foreign countries and told critics to" "
" I have news for everyone: overcome it. There will be political influence in foreign policy, "Mulvani said. "The election has consequences, and it should, and your foreign policy will change … no problem with that."
Mulberry's bold defense of Trump's actions in Ukraine comes as the House impeachment probe closes with the eldest presidential advisers to determine whether Trump is abusing his power and pressuring a foreign government to investigate that could help his chances of re-election in 2020.
To Democrats in the three impeachment probe groups, the words of Mulvani I noted but a significant turning point. [1
9659002] "We have recognition from the president," said reporter Eric Swolwell (D-Calif.), A member of the House Intelligence Committee, referring to Trump's July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, during which Trump he was pressured by a colleague to open investigations into the 2016 election and the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who sat on board the Ukrainian energy company Buri
Mulvani, Swalwell said, "co-signed the president's confession," that the administration is still involved in "prod lzhavashto cover. "
Particularly, some Republicans have become angry, calling Mulvani's comments a strategic mistake in the middle of the impeachment study.
"Totally inexplicable," said a GOP deputy, complaining about the "damage" to Mulvani's words. "He literally said what the president and everyone else said didn't happen." The congressman spoke on condition of anonymity being revealed.
During his Thursday press conference, Mulvani said that the decision to refuse military assistance from Ukraine had "absolutely nothing to do with Biden." "He also denied allegations that the administration tried to hide anything by moving Trump's transcript of Zelensky's call to a more secure server.
"Let me ask you this, if we wanted to cover it up, would we call the Ministry of Justice almost immediately and get them to review the transcript of the tape we did, by the way? "Mulvani said. "If we wanted to cover it up, would we have published it?"
A Justice Department official took advantage of Mulvey's remarks, stating that "if the White House declines assistance in assisting with any Department of Justice investigation, this is news to us. "
While Mulvany spoke Thursday, members of the House Intelligence, Surveillance and Foreign Affairs committees conducting the impeachment study met in private with US Ambassador to Europe Union Gordon Sundland, who told them Trump has assigned the official US policy towards Ukraine to his personal lawyer Rudolf W. Giuliani.
Sundland did not feel uncomfortable with this decision, he gave evidence, although he still executed the strategy.
"I would not recommend that Mr Giuliani or any private citizen be involved in these foreign policy issues," Sondland said, according to his prepared remarks.
Mulvaney sedates these concerns, defending the president's right to place foreign policy in the hands of his personal lawyer.
"You may not like the fact that Giuliani is involved, that's great, that's good," Mulvey said, referring to Sondland's remarks. "This is not illegal, it is not impossible … the president has to set foreign policy and he has to choose who to do it, as long as he does not break any law."
Sondland, Trump's major donor, who has become the center of an impeachment investigation over his extraordinary role in US and Ukrainian policy, criticizes the president's temporary support for the retreat and the departure of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Jovanovic. Sundland called her an "excellent diplomat" and said he "regretted" her departure, followed by a campaign by Giuliani to portray her as disloyal to the president.
Democratic lawmakers coming out of Sondland's deposition said that while they found him generally credible, and rejoiced that he chose to testify, despite pressure from the White House not to do so, they believed that Sundland is selective and cellular with details.
"He does not answer questions about the specificity we have seen from other witnesses and the recall of details," said reporter Harley Ore (D-California), a member of the Oversight Committee.
"I think he is clearly trying to protect his reputation and his own behavior, "said reporter David N Tsitsilin (DR.I.), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He also criticized some of Sondland's testimony as" untrue to me about his kind of misunderstanding of all the things that happen around him, and in full view of America
In his prepared remarks, Sondland, a hotel tycoon who came to work without diplomatic experience, presented himself as well-meaning, but in some cases was beyond the president's emissary, who tried to do his best to
In principle, Sundland said he opposed any "quid pro quo" that would exchange US support for a friendly nation to investigate Bidens.
But he said that he had recently learned that efforts to investigate the Ukrainian energy company Burisma were due to its associations with Biden, whose son Hunter was sitting on his board.
'I did not realize much later that Mr Giuliani's program may also include an effort to encourage Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the presidential re-election campaign in 2020 ", he said, explaining that he" understands that Burma is one of the many examples of management of Ukrainian oligarchic companies and lacks the type of corporate governance structures found in Western companies. "
Sundland's apparent failure to connect the dots between Burma and Beyenne happened as Julianne made several television appearances in the spring and summer, criticizing Hunter Biden's involvement on board. and numerous articles in newspapers and magazines called into question whether his role in Burma could prove to be a drag on his father's presidential campaign.
"Refusing foreign aid to pressure a foreign government to take such steps would be wrong," he stated in prepared testimony. "I have not participated in, and would never have participated in, any such endeavors."
But this testimony seems to contradict what other current and former Trump administration officials have told investigators in the House over the past two weeks. Fiona Hill, a former senior director of the National Security Council for Russia and Europe, told House investigators she was concerned about Sondland's talks about investigations at a July meeting, which ultimately linked to a National Security Council lawyer.
And Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia George Kent testifies that Sundland has been depopulated, along with former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volcker and Minister of Energy Rick Perry amigo ”, who are in charge of Ukraine's policy, This move happened during a May meeting that Mulvani organized after Jovanovic's ouster.
Last week, Volker provided impeachment researchers with text messages indicating that Sundland had told Trump before agreeing to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, requesting the "delivery" of a promise from Zelensky to investigate Burma and the 2016 election.
Sondland claims that his persecution in Ukraine has always been in line with US longstanding policy to insist on transparency and efforts to combat corruption in the country. He added that he had never been aware of objections to plans for Ukrainian policy by Hill or her boss, National Security Advisor John Bolton. Hill testified Monday that Bolton is alive, that Giuliani steers Ukraine's shadow policy.
"I have to see her testimony – if the media reports are accurate – as a product of the background and in the context of the widely known tension between the NSC on the one hand and the State Department on the other," Sondland stated.
Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.