A fundamental claim within the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is that President Donald Trump temporarily withheld military aid to Ukraine as a “quid pro quo” in exchange for Ukraine opening investigations into alleged 2016 election interference and potential corruption involving Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
However, recently released testimony from a key State Department official revealed that military aid to Ukraine had also been previously withheld temporarily in 2017 by the White House over perfectly legitimate concerns that had nothing to do with the 2016 election or the Bidens, Breitbart reported.
Aid to Ukraine held in 2017
A State Department official by the name of Catherine Croft, who specializes in matters pertaining to Ukraine, testified on Oct. 30 before the joint committees involved in the impeachment inquiry and made revelations that undermine a primary tenet of the allegations against President Trump.
Croft noted (on page 26) that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, at the direction of President Trump, had placed a hold on the delivery of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, which was set to be the first delivery of its kind.
It is worth pointing out the primary reason for this hold that lasted “a week or two” was concern that Russia would “react negatively” to the provision of lethal aid, the same reasoning used by the Obama administration when it decided against sending such aid to Ukraine.
She further revealed that, aside from just Ukraine, Mulvaney’s OMB had taken a “policy interest” in the aid that the U.S. was providing to a whole host of other countries.
The aid to Ukraine was eventually delivered in early 2018, but further discussion of the hold-up (on page 31) revealed that President Trump had “pretty well-known” views in that he was “skeptical of providing weapons to Ukraine” — however, those doubts were not simply because of the way he believed Russia might react.
Croft revealed that Trump had directly confronted then-Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko about the level of corruption in his country and voiced concerns that the U.S. was footing the lion’s share of the bill for assistance to Ukraine, well above the amount being paid by the rest of Europe and even Ukraine itself.
She said, “When this was discussed, including in front of the Ukrainian delegation, in front of President Poroshenko, he described his concerns being that Ukraine was corrupt, that it was capable of being a very rich country, and that the United States shouldn’t pay for it, but instead, we should be providing aid through loans.”
A moment later, on page 33, Croft revealed that the U.S. provided more assistance to Ukraine than all of Europe combined — a common theme on which President Trump has touched, not just in regard to Ukraine, but also in regard to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations and more.
Impeachment theory undermined
If the reasons put forward by Trump in 2017 explaining his hesitation to provide military aid to Ukraine sound familiar — concern over corruption and the fact that Europe wasn’t doing its share — that is because those were the same concerns expressed by Trump, as well as new Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in the July 25 phone call that is at the heart of the current impeachment inquiry.
Once again, we see a key element of the Democrats’ accusations against the president undermined by the testimony of the very witnesses Democrats are calling to buttress their claims, proving that the entire thing is a manufactured sham that has no real basis in reality and is just a continuation of the incessant effort to “get Trump.”