As my colleague Fran observed, the days of open aggression from the White House toward the press are over. Mick Mulvaney can try to take back what he said earlier about doing quid pro quo foreign policy with Ukraine and other countries, but we have the actual un-doctored, real-time video.
Nevertheless, Mulvaney is trying. He issued a statement earlier in which he tries to take back the very words which escaped his mouth, as if his boss hadn't admitted the very same thing, in the released notes of the actual conversation with Ukraine's president and his own words to the press where he also suggested China undertake an investigation.
"Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump," Mulvaney wrote. He just ADMITTED it. No misconstruing necessary.
And from there, it just goes to UpIsDownLand.
He goes on: "Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concerns about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption. Multiple times during the more-than-30 minute briefing where I took over 25 questions, I referred to President Trump's interest in rooting out corruption in Ukraine, and ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly and appropriately. There was never any connection between the funds and the Ukrainians doing anything with the server - this was made explicitly obvious by the fact that the aid money was delivered without any action on the part of the Ukrainians regarding the server."
Well, okay, sport, but the thing is that the "server" is a ridiculous fiction and the real target was (and is) Hunter Biden. So there's a tell right there.
"There was never any condition on the flow of the aid related to the matter of the DNC server," he concludes.
Well then. Why did they withhold the funds when the ONLY condition was an investigation?
No, there's no putting that genie back in the bottle. And really, when you watch Mulvaney, it strikes me that his attitude in that press conference was more or less how they think off-camera. Live with it, idiots, because we're going to do what we want when we want. Mulvaney just said it in public.
UPDATE: I guess he had to do it: