07:51 GMT +317 November 2019
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    US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki

    Obama Staffer Slams Mulvaney for Admitting ‘Quid Pro Quo’, But Says It’s OK for Diplomacy

    © AFP 2019 / Nicholas KAMM
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    Former White House communications director Jen Psaki criticized White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for admitting to a “quid pro quo” in Trump’s talk with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, yet conceded that it is a common tactic for US diplomacy.

    Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” to discuss Mulvaney’s Friday press conference, Psaki said it was “complete malpractice to put Mick Mulvaney in that briefing.”

    Psaki then argued that Mulvaney had been trying to write off a quid pro quo with regard to demanding an investigation into Biden by suggesting that it was normal diplomacy — in spite of the fact that Mulvaney had directly referenced the 2016 election, not the Bidens.

    “But I will say, there is a very dangerous kind of combination argument being made, I should say, by people like Mulvaney that the quid pro quo is a normal part of diplomacy and suggesting that looking for political dirt on your opponent like Joe Biden or anyone else and doing that through diplomacy is normal. It is not normal,” she said.

    Psaki immediately said afterwards that the “quid pro quo” concept, indeed, is an ordinary thing when it comes to diplomacy. “How it works, you use levers like if you do more work on human rights and you’re better on that, then we may unleash some more military assistance for you. That is in the national interest of the United States.”

    Mulvaney released a statement after the briefing, saying that his comments had been taken out of context and that the withholding of aid had never been tied to any investigation, whether into the Bidens or the 2016 election, adding that President Trump “never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server.”

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