Impeachable offense? Biden withholding $200M in Ukrainian military aid amid Russian threat: report

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In the summer of 2019, then-President Donald Trump held a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he discussed previous reports of alleged corruption in the country involving now-President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

During the call, Trump reportedly asked Zelensky to look into the matter and even offered assistance from his Justice Department.

Sometime after the phone call took place, Trump allegedly directed his administration to withhold some $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine, who, at the time, was battling Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. Democrats pounced on this alleged “quid pro quo” and claimed that Trump illegally withheld the assistance while imploring the Ukrainian leader to investigate a potential political opponent, all of which led to his first impeachment.

Democrats’ claims were bolstered by a January 2020 opinion from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.

“Today, GAO issued a legal decision concluding that the Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld approximately $214 million appropriated to DOD for security assistance to Ukraine,” GAO General Counsel Thomas Armstrong said at the time.

Trump was impeached by the Democrat-run House but he was not convicted by the Republican-led Senate.

Now, it appears as though — all things being equal — Democrats should be drawing up new articles of impeachment for Biden, according to NBC News.

“The Biden administration prepared a $200 million package of additional military assistance for Ukraine in recent weeks but held off on delivering the aid despite appeals from Kyiv and some lawmakers,” the network reported on Friday.

“The administration’s delay of the smaller shipment of weapons and military equipment was designed to give more time for diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions and to retain leverage in the case of a Russian attack on Ukraine,” the report added.

This, at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed 90,000 troops along Ukraine’s eastern flank and when some in the Democratic Party — notably Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, continue to insist, without merit, that Trump was too deferential to Moscow.

That said, NBC News claimed that the administration is preparing a bigger military aid package if Putin orders an invasion.

“We would provide additional defensive materiel to the Ukrainians above and beyond that which we are already providing,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, recalling Biden’s conversation with Putin earlier this month.

During his term, Trump went far beyond his predecessor to assist Ukraine. Then-President Barack Obama, perhaps in deference, to Russia, provide several hundred million dollars in general security aid to Kyiv but provided hundreds of millions of dollars worth as well that included lethal assistance — that is, he authorized sending weapons to Ukraine with which to defend itself, which is something Obama refused to do.

And Obama’s refusal to provide military weaponry to Ukraine also came after Moscow sent “little green men” into the Crimea, then a part of Ukraine, in 2014; he continues to control Crimea to this day.

In late December 2017, reports noted that Trump signed off on a plan to send anti-tank missiles to Ukraine as Russian forces continued to assist the Ukrainian separatists.

“The United States has decided to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive capabilities as part of our effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to deter further aggression,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said then.

“U.S. assistance is entirely defensive in nature, and as we have always said, Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself. The United States remains committed to the Minsk agreements as the way forward in eastern Ukraine. We have no further comment, at this time,” she added.


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Jon Dougherty


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