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Schiff: Mulvaney comments on Ukraine aid have made things 'much, much worse'

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats Ratcliffe, Schiff battle over Biden emails, politicized intelligence MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump says he may lower corporate tax rate to 20 percent if reelected Is Social Security safe from the courts? On The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security MORE’s comments linked the withholding of aid to Ukraine to investigations into the 2016 election have made things "much worse" for the president. 

“I think Mr. Mulvaney’s acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse,” Schiff, a key Democrat in the impeachment inquiry of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE, told reporters Thursday. 

Schiff demurred when asked how Mulvaney’s comments would affect the pace of the House’s impeachment inquiry.

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Schiff later expanded on his comments when speaking to reporters before heading back into a closed-door deposition of Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. 

“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,” Schiff said.

Schiff added that he hopes every member of Congress, Democrat and Republican, will “speak out and condemn this illicit action by the president and his chief of staff.” 

Schiff did not respond to questions over whether Mulvaney will be brought in to testify as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. 

The California lawmaker's comments come after Mulvaney had earlier indicated that the Trump administration held up military aid to Ukraine in part because officials wanted Kiev to investigate unproven election interference allegations linking the country to a Democratic National Committee (DNC) server.

“I have news for everybody. Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy ... that’s going to happen. Elections have consequences,” Mulvaney told reporters Thursday, saying “we do that all the time with foreign policy" when asked if a “quid pro quo” was involved in the eventual release of the aid.

Mulvaney denied any aid was withheld to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE and his son.

The comments came the same day that Sondland testified. He was expected to tell members that a text message in which he said Trump “didn’t want a quid pro quo ... didn’t want anything from Ukraine” was dictated by Trump himself.

Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryIs Social Security safe from the courts? Trump, Biden set for high-stakes showdown President Trump faces Herculean task in first debate MORE told The Wall Street Journal this week that he had been told to talk to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRatcliffe, Schiff battle over Biden emails, politicized intelligence Hunter Biden's laptop: A Russian trick, a hack-job — or just what it looks like? Juan Williams: Trump's search for dirt falls flat MORE to set up a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that Giuliani had repeatedly invoked conspiracy theories about the 2016 election and Biden.

-- Updated at 4:02 p.m.