ON THE HILL WITH DOUG CHRISTIAN
CAPITOL HILL – The White House’s Office of Management and Budget released $250 million from the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative aid Thursday. Additionally, at the same time, the State Department released $141.5 million in foreign military financing to Ukraine. All this comes hours after an intelligence community’s widely reported whistleblower standoff is revealed by multiple sources to surround President Donald Trump’s cut-off on aid to Ukraine if Ukraine didn’t investigate presidential rival Joe Biden.
Lawmakers from both parties had expressed serious concern over the past few weeks that the White House had held up hundreds of millions of dollars of Ukrainian aid approved by Congress.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted Thursday:
A few weeks ago in Ukraine, I met w President Zelensky and we discussed the surprise cut off of aid and the inappropriate demands the Trump campaign was making of him. The obvious question everyone in Kiev was asking was – were the two things connected? https://t.co/8yXFiFRlQm
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) September 20, 2019
Many in the media thought so. Vice President Mike Pence, on his visit to Poland, was asked a question regarding that connection on Sept. 2:
“Specifically, number one, did you discuss Joe Biden at all during that meeting yesterday with the Ukrainian president? And number two, can you assure Ukraine that the hold-up of that money has absolutely nothing to do with efforts, including by Rudy Giuliani, to try to dig up dirt on the Biden family?”
Pence: “Well, on the first question, the answer is no. But we — with President Zelensky yesterday, we discussed — we discussed America’s support for Ukraine and the upcoming decision the President will make on the latest tranche of financial support in great detail.”
Doug Christian, Capitol Hill