Pompeo on Mulvaney admission of quid pro quo: 'I never saw that in the decisionmaking process'

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo says US to open embassy in the Maldives Microsoft: Iranian hacking group targeting attendees of major international security conferences American money for American ideas: Think tanks should disclose foreign funding MORE on Sunday responded to acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyGaffes put spotlight on Meadows at tough time for Trump Trump says he may lower corporate tax rate to 20 percent if reelected Is Social Security safe from the courts? MORE’s admission — which he has since walked back — that the White House made aid to Ukraine conditional on political investigations by saying he "never saw that."

“I never saw that in the decisionmaking process that I was a part of,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding, “The conversation was always around, what were the strategic implications? Would that money get to the right place?”


Pompeo repeatedly demurred on “talk[ing] about internal deliberations” at the State Department with host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosAll fracked up: Biden's Keystone State breakdown The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus MORE and said he would not discuss a “hypothetical” about the appropriateness of conditioning foreign aid on political investigations, despite the host noting that Mulvaney said it had, in fact, occurred.

"I will leave it to the chief of staff to explain what it is he said," Pompeo said. "I’m telling you what I was involved with. I’m telling you what I saw."

Stephanopoulos pressed Pompeo on whether it would be appropriate for the White House to make aid conditional on political investigations.

“I'm not going to get into hypotheticals and secondary things based on what someone else has said,” Pompeo said, prompting Stephanopoulos to respond, “Well, except it's not a hypothetical. We saw the chief of staff, the acting chief of staff right there.”

“You just said, ‘If this happened.’ That is, by definition, a hypothetical,” Pompeo countered.

Mulvaney said in a press conference last week that Ukrainian aid was delayed while the White House sought an investigation into the 2016 election.

There is “going to be political influence in foreign policy,” he said. “Get over it.”

Mulvaney has since walked back the comment, saying, “There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”

Pompeo also defended the involvement of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Teenager who filmed George Floyd's death to be honored 11 arrested after clashes at 'Jews for Trump' rally in New York MORE in Ukraine diplomacy, telling Stephanopoulos that “private citizens often are part of executing American foreign policy” and again refusing to discuss “internal deliberations” when asked whether the State Department reviewed Giuliani’s possible conflicts of interest in Ukraine.

Pompeo also pushed back on criticism that he failed to defend former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

"We’ve done great things for these officers," he said. "I see these stories about morale being low. I see things precisely the opposite. ... I will always defend them when it’s appropriate."