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

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony Five bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony MORE on Sunday responded to acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDefense official testifies Ukraine was aware of issues with aid in July Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony 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 StephanopoulosLawmakers spar over upcoming Sondland testimony GOP rep on impeachment: 'I think the evidence is crumbling' Senate Republicans can acquit Trump — but they cannot defend his conduct 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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBiden: Impeachment hearings show 'Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee' Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep FBI sought interview with whistleblower at heart of impeachment probe 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."