Mike Pompeo Is Going to Have to Come Up With a Better Answer Than This on Ukraine

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday whether it would have been “inappropriate” for the United States to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the country pursued an investigation into President Donald Trump’s political rivals. Pompeo, insisting the question was a “hypothetical” one, didn’t have an answer.

But Thursday, the president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, admitted that Trump did, in fact, hold up military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory about his political rivals. Mulvaney walked his statement back hours later—and tried to do so again Sunday morning—but the damage was already done. 

“George,” Pompeo said Sunday, in response to Stephanopoulos’ question about the alleged quid pro quo, “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals and secondary things based on what someone else has said.”

“Except it’s not a hypothetical,” replied Stephanopoulos, who was the White House communications director under President Bill Clinton. “We saw the acting chief of staff—”

“George, you just said, ‘If this happened,'” Pompeo interjected. “That is, by definition, a hypothetical.”

“The chief of staff said it did,” Stephanopoulos shot back—leaving Pompeo staring at the camera in silence for several seconds.

Watch the exchange in full below.

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