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Mick Mulvaney defends Ukraine statements, says he didn’t offer to resign

By Maya Parthasarathy

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday again denied any “quid pro quo” in the handling of U.S. military funds to Ukraine, though acknowledging his White House news conference last week hadn’t been “perfect.”

"That’s not what I said. That’s what people said that I said," he told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” of his Thursday news conference, claiming that “quid pro quo” was “reporters’” language, not his.

"I have news for everybody: Get over it,” Mulvaney had told reporters Thursday at the White House. “There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.” Since then he’s taken heat for his comments, which appeared to admit to a quid pro quo, despite strong denials from the Trump administration.

"I believe that anyone listening to what you said in that briefing could only come to one conclusion," Wallace said, playing a video clip from the news conference in which Mulvaney listed three reasons for why aid to Ukraine had been withheld, rather than the two he brought up on Sunday: corruption in the country, whether other countries were participating in support of Ukraine and “whether or not they were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice.”

Wallace then quoted a senior Justice Department official who said the withholding of aid in regards to a department investigation was “news to us.”

Mulvaney, though, did acknowledge he could “absolutely” see how people took his words “the wrong way,” but continued to emphasize he “never said it was a ‘quid pro quo.’”

“What should put this issue to bed is that the money flowed without any connection to the DNC server,” Mulvaney insisted to a doubtful Wallace.

Mulvaney also “absolutely, positively” denied having offered his resignation to President Donald Trump after the controversial news conference.

"I'm very happy working there,” Mulvaney said. “Did I have the perfect press conference? No, but again the facts are on our side.”