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

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE on Sunday responded to acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' 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?”

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Pompeo repeatedly demurred on “talk[ing] about internal deliberations” at the State Department with host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates Senate Republican 'not happy' with Pelosi plan to delay infrastructure vote 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 TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiCapitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' 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."