White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday that she does not know whether U.S. military aid was withheld from Ukraine to solicit help in an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, refusing to guarantee that there was no quid pro quo at any time.
During an appearance on CNNs State of the Union, Conway instead repeatedly emphasized that the funds were ultimately sent after being delayed over the summer.
I feel confident about the fact that Ukraine has that aid and is using it right now, that its because of this president that they have it, she said.
Pressed by host Dana Bash, who pointed out that Conway very notably wont say yes or no on the question of whether President Donald Trump was seeking to make a deal, Conway said she wasnt sure.
I dont know whether aid was being held and for how long, she said.
Dana Bash: Quid pro quo, yes or no?
Kellyanne Conway: I dont know whether aid was being held up and for how long pic.twitter.com/a5NMUJ4VEE
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 3, 2019
The question has become central to House Democrats impeachment probe of Trump following the release of a summary of his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to the document, Trump urged Zelensky to assist his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr with an investigation of Biden and his son based on unsubstantiated corruption allegations. At the time of the conversation, the aid was being withheld.
Last month, The New York Times reported that high-level Ukrainian officials were aware by the first week in August that the assistance had been frozen, contradicting Trumps claim that they were in the dark on the situation.
However, it appears the GOP may be shifting its messaging on the potential quid pro quo in order to bolster their defense of Trump.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Senate Republicans are gearing up to acknowledge that Trump used the aid as leverage and that while it was not legal, it is not an impeachable act.
Last week, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Councils top Ukraine expert, testified before congressional investigators, and is thought to have provided firsthand information about Trumps call.
According to Vindmans prepared remarks obtained by HuffPost, he was concerned by the call and did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen. He decided to report the discussion, he said, because he felt Trumps actions could undermine U.S. national security.