In the course of explaining to the American people why Donald Trump needs to hold next year’s G-7 meeting at his own Miami resort, Mick Mulvaney casually admitted that the US did, in fact, hold up $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to secure an investigation into the Democrats.
Mulvaney – who, prior to joining the Trump administration and eventually replacing John Kelly as Trump’s chief babysitter, was a cartoon budget villain on Capitol Hill – didn’t seem to appreciate the extent to which withholding congressionally approved foreign aid in the service of blackmailing another government is an impeachable offense.
“He also mentioned to me in the past that the corruption related to the DNC server – absolutely, no question about that”, a confident Mulvaney declared.
“That’s it, that’s why we held up the money”, Mick flatly stated, throwing up his hands for effect.
It was the first time an administration official has publicly admitted to a quid pro quo.
Stunned, a reporter asked for clarification: “So — so — so the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he decided to withhold funding to the Ukraine?”
The reference is to the notion that a server housing Hillary Clinton’s missing emails is somewhere in Ukraine. Trump mentioned that on his call with Volodymyr Zelensky. (There is no evidence to support that claim.)
Apparently realizing he might have made a fatal mistake, Mulvaney tried to put the genie back in the bottle. “The — the look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about”, Mick said. “And that is absolutely appropriate”.
As you can surmise from the reaction of the reporters in the room, it’s not “absolutely appropriate”. In fact, it’s so inappropriate that it’s at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, along with allegations that Trump also tied the aid to an investigation into the Bidens.
Mulvaney seemed totally oblivious to that reality.
But Adam Schiff wasn’t.
“Mulvaney just said that US military aid for Ukraine was held up pending Ukraine’s investigation of Democrats”, the House intelligence chair said on Thursday afternoon. “Things just went from very, very bad to much, much worse”, he added.
Later, the Justice department said it “has no idea what… Mulvaney was talking about”.
By tomorrow, one imagines, Donald Trump will claim to have never met anyone called “Mick Mulvaney”.