Mulvaney seeks to correct quid pro quo remarks in withering interview with Fox's Chris Wallace

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney to file separate suit to fight impeachment subpoena Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment MORE insisted he never said the Trump administration expected a quid pro quo linking U.S. aid to Ukraine to Kiev launching investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report Giuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry Giuliani associate Lev Parnas discussed Ukraine with Trump at private dinner: report MORE during a withering interview on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceRepublicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Intelligence panel Democrat: 'I think we will end up calling' some witnesses on GOP list Intelligence panel Republican: 'How we treat this whistleblower will impact whistleblowers in the future' MORE.
 
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Mulvaney repeatedly insisted his remarks at a Thursday press conference were taken out of context, saying he never used the language of "quid pro quo."
 
"That’s not what I said. That’s what people said that I said," he told a skeptical Wallace early in the interview.
 
"Can I see how people took that the wrong way? Absolutely," Mulvaney later said in the interview. "But I never said there was a quid pro quo because there isn’t."
Mulvaney said the aid to Ukraine was withheld because President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report Giuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry Giuliani associate Lev Parnas discussed Ukraine with Trump at private dinner: report MORE wanted to make sure that European allies were also delivering aid to Ukraine and because Trump wanted answers about corruption in Ukraine.
 
Wallace challenged Mulvaney on that point, saying he believed "that anyone listening to what you said in that briefing could only come to one conclusion."
 
Fox then replayed video of Mulvaney's Thursday press conference, during which Wallace pointed out that Mulvaney listed three reasons, not the two he listed on Sunday, for why the aid had been withheld.
 
"You were asked specifically by Jonathan Karl, was investigating Democrats one of the conditions for holding up the aide? Was that part of the quid pro quo? And you said, it happens all the time," Wallace said, referring to the ABC reporter who had questioned Mulvaney on Thursday.
 
Mulvaney said Trump mentioned the investigations in passing, but the chief of staff then stuck to his position that corruption and ensuring that aid was provided by other countries were the reasons for the delayed aid. 
 
Wallace then pressed Mulvaney again. 
 
"You know, I hate to go through this, but you said what you said. And the fact is, after that exchange with Jonathan Karl, you were asked another time why the aid was held up. What was the condition for the aid? And you didn't mention two conditions. You mentioned three conditions," Wallace said. 
 
Wallace then showed video of Mulvaney saying "three issues for that" while holding up three countries during the Thursday press conference. The third issue cited by Mulvaney on Thursday was whether Ukraine was cooperating with an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department.  
 
The Justice Department has said the linking of Ukraine aid to its investigation was "news to us," according to a senior Justice official cited by Fox.
 
Mulvaney conceded that he could see how people took his comments "the wrong way" but again insisted he never used the words "quid pro quo." 
 
He also said that the fact that the aid to Ukraine was eventually sent should "put this issue to bed."
 
Asked later if he had offered to resign over the matter, Mulvaney said he had not.
 
"Absolutely, positively not. I’m very happy working there. Did I have the perfect press conference? No," Mulvaney said. 
 
Democrats pressing for Trump's impeachment have pounced on Mulvaney's remarks, and GOP allies of the White House have also been critical of his comments.