- Mulvaney said three factors drove the decision to withhold aid, including Trump's belief that Ukraine is a "corrupt place," and that other European countries don't contribute enough to its defense.
- He also said: "Did he also mention to me the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about it. But that's it. That's why we held up the money."
- Mulvaney's statement is the first public acknowledgment from an administration official that Trump held up Ukraine's security assistance in part for his own political gain.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .
This story is breaking. Check back for updates.
Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff, publicly confirmed that part of the reason Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine was that he wanted the Ukrainian government to investigate a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election.
Mulvaney acknowledged the quid pro quo during a press conference Thursday, in which he explained the factors that contributed to Trump's decision to withhold aid.
Mulvaney said Trump told him that he believed Ukraine was a "corrupt place" and that he didn't want to "send them a bunch of money." He also said the president was concerned that other European countries weren't doing their fair share to contribute to Ukraine's defense.
Then, he added, "Did he also mention to me the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about it. But that's it. That's why we held up the money."
ABC News' Jonathan Karl immediately followed up and asked Mulvaney to confirm that "the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason to withhold funding to Ukraine."
Mulvaney replied affirmatively, saying, "The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing, and he was worried about corruption in that nation."
- The diplomat at the center of the Trump-Ukraine scandal is spending $1 million of taxpayer money on home renovations including $95,000 for an outdoor 'living pod'
- John Bolton described Rudy Giuliani as a 'hand grenade' that would 'blow everybody up'
- Trump escalated his war on Fox News again, slamming anchor Chris Wallace for his coverage of the Ukraine scandal and comparing him unfavorably to his dead father
SEE ALSO: Gordon Sondland, a central figure in the Ukraine scandal, threw Trump and Giuliani under the bus in his opening statement to Congress