Comments by Trump’s acting chief of staff trigger firestorm

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney says “I have news for everybody, get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
4:56 | 10/17/19

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Transcript for Comments by Trump’s acting chief of staff trigger firestorm
He said -- he admitted that military aid to Ukraine was frozen in part to pressure -- to put pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats. So Mick Mulvaney just said what you said? Yes. Okay, I don't know. I would like to know what that means. Reporter: Democrats have been investigating whether there was a quid pro quo. Things have just gone from very, very bad to much, much worse. Reporter: Today, another key witness testified behind closed doors. Gordon sondland is U.S. Ambassador to the eu and a central figure in the president's Ukraine policy. According to written testimony obtained by ABC news, he told lawmakers president trump directed that all matters related to Ukraine go through his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Sondland said he and his fellow U.S. Diplomats were disappointed, but ultimately decided to do as president trump directed and talk to Mr. Giuliani. Ambassador sondland said Giuliani told him if the ukranians wanted a meeting with the president, they would have to issue a statement promising to investigate the DNC and burisma, the company that paid hunter Biden to serve on its board. "My understanding," sondland told the committee, "Was that the president directed Mr. Giuliani's participation, that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the concerns of the president." In a previously released text message, the top U.S. Official in Ukraine raised concerns with sondland, writing, quote, "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." Sondland said when he got that text, he called the president. "I asked the president, what do you want from crew Yan? The president responded, nothing. There is no quid pro quo. The president repeated, no quid pro quo multiple times. This was a very short call and I recall the president was in a bad mood." Sondland then relayed that message back to the diplomat, texting, "I believe you are incorrect about president trump's intentions. The president has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind." Let's get to Jon Karl tonight. And acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledging to you there that U.S. Military aid was withheld from Ukraine in part to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Democrats. It made headlines everywhere, but just minutes ago tonight, right before we came on the air, Mulvaney trying to walk that back now? Reporter: He's put out a statement, David, that accuses, quote, the media, of miscon trueing what he said. Mulvaney is now saying there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. But David, that is not what he said in that briefing. In fact, when I followed up and asked him directly if he was saying it was a quid pro quo, not only did he not deny it, he said, as you heard, we do that, we do that all the time with foreign policy. Now, Mulvaney's statement came out after a statement from the president's legal team was released, distancing itself from what he said. The legal team said, quote, the president's legal counsel was not involved in acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's press briefing. David? Jon, thank you. Meantime, the resignation making news tonight.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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