Trump impeachment news live: Latest updates amid fury at treatment of US soldiers deployed in Syria

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During that appearance on Fox, Mulvaney attempted to defend the moment last week he appeared to admit the White House had held up almost $400m (£308m) military aid to Ukraine for political purposes, therein effectively acknowledging the quid pro quo the impeachment inquiry is hung on.

 

Responding to questions from reporters, Mulvaney said of the president: “Did he also mention to me in the past that the corruption that related to the [Democratic National Committee] server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it and that’s why we held up the money.”

 

In conversation with Wallace yesterday, Mulvaney insisted his comment had been misconstrued: “That’s not what I said. That’s what people said that I said.”

 

“Can I see how people took that the wrong way? Absolutely,” Mulvaney later said in the interview. “But I never said there was a quid pro quo because there isn’t.”

 

He said the fact that the money was ultimately paid should “put this issue to bed” and denied that he had any intention of resigning. “Absolutely, positively not. I’m very happy working there. Did I have the perfect press conference? No,” this fan of the rhetorical question insisted. 

 

Over on ABC’s This Week, secretary of state Mike Pompeo was not particularly enthusiastic about coming to his colleague’s aid. “I will leave to the chief of staff to explain what it is he said and what he intended,” he told George Stephanopoulos.

 

He was pretty evasive on Ukraine throughout in fact…

 

…and blandly optimistic about the crisis in Syria kicked off by Trump’s withdrawal of US armed forces, leaving America’s Kurdish allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to the mercy of a Turksish onslaught.