Pence Still Won’t Say What He Knew About Trump’s Ukraine Deal

Dodging questions, the vice president insists Trump “did nothing wrong.”

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, on October 17, 2019.Burhan Ozbilici/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

This morning, Vice President Mike Pence refused to answer whether he knew about President Donald Trump’s efforts to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless President Volodymyr Zelensky authorized an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, a quid pro quo that has been corroborated by several top diplomats in their testimonies in the House impeachment inquiry.

During his appearance on Face the Nation, CBS News’ Margaret Brennan pressed Pence four times whether he had “knowledge of the deal that these US officials have described under oath.” The vice president avoided directly answering the question, instead pointing to his own interactions with Zelensky, in which said he “focused entirely on President Zelensky’s agenda to bring about reforms to end corruption in Ukraine and to bring together the European community to provide greater support for Ukraine.” 

“I can only tell you what I know,” Pence said. “And what I know is that the transcript of the president’s call with President Zelensky shows that there was no quid pro quo. He did nothing wrong.”

“As the facts continue to come out the American people again will see there in the President’s transcript, my interactions, there was no quid pro quo,” Pence said when asked asked a third time. “There was no pressure. It was entirely focused on issues.”

“I haven’t gotten a clear answer from you on that though, sir,” Brennan replied. “Are you saying that you did not ever hear of such a deal? Is that what I understand you’re describing?”

“I’m telling you that all of my interactions with the president, all of my conversations with President Zelensky, were entirely focused on issues of importance to the American people, ending corruption, enlisting more European support and supporting Ukraine in a way that would restore its territorial integrity and stand by Ukraine for its sovereignty,” Pence concluded.

It was an encore of a similar exchange the vice president had during a press event in Iowa earlier this month. There, NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard asked Pence whether he had direct knowledge that the president had held up military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating the Bidens. Pence also ducked answering questions on that occasion.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.