Foreign Policy

Trump Regime Still Withholding Some Aid to Ukraine

Written by SK Ashby

Senate Republicans voted to acquit Trump for abusing the power of his office by temporarily withholding military assistance in a scheme to extort the Ukrainian government for political favors, but at least some assistance is still being withheld to this day.

Buzzfeed News reports that some assistance, which was approved by Congress and the Pentagon, has been held up for at least a year even though the Ukrainian government already paid for it.

The Trump administration is currently withholding approval for at least six commercial orders for arms and ammunition from US companies to Ukraine together worth roughly $30 million, according to three current Ukrainian officials and a former senior US official who have direct knowledge of the sales, straining an already fragile relationship between the two countries. Five of the pending sales from US companies have been delayed for around a year and one of the sales has been held up for more than a year, all four officials said. The officials said they haven’t been able to get any answers from the Trump administration about why the deals, which typically take around two months to approve and must be licensed by the State Department, haven’t received approval.

It might be wise for the Ukrainians to look for other sources” to buy arms and ammunition from, said the US official, who said he has questioned senior White House and State Department officials about the issue. He said he received only a cryptic response from both that the sales are still being “evaluated,” despite the Ukrainians already putting money down on them.

I know this is the least of anyone's concerns, and it should be, but what immediately struck me here in the aftermath of the Senate's vote to acquit Trump is that he's not just denying assistance to Ukraine; he's also holding up legitimate business for American companies for his own reasons. That struck me because congressional Republicans probably would have voted to convict President Obama or any other Democrat for that alone. Trying to extort an ally for political favors wouldn't even be necessary.

It feels almost cliche at this point to say 'imagine if a Democrat did it,' but the Republican party is so monumentally hypocritical we have a new example of this almost every day and I ignore most of it.

The refusal to grant final approve to these contracts that have been held up for a year may not be directly related to Trump's scheme to pressure Ukraine into publicly implicating the Bidens, but we also don't have a lot of reason to think it isn't related in some way. The worst answer is usually the correct one under Trump.