Trump administration demanded Democrats strip Ukraine aid language from spending package

By | December 20, 2019

The Washington Post reports:

Senior Trump administration officials in recent days threatened a presidential veto that could have led to a government shutdown if House Democrats refused to drop language requiring prompt release of future military aid for Ukraine, according to five administration and congressional officials.

The language was ultimately left out of mammoth year-end spending legislation that passed the House and Senate this week ahead of a Saturday shutdown deadline. The White House said President Trump would sign the $1.4 trillion package before midnight.

The Ukraine provision was one of several items the White House drew a hard line on during negotiations to finalize the spending legislation, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the developments. It would have required the White House to swiftly release $250 million in defense money for Ukraine that was part of the spending package.

The White House this year refused to release congressionally appropriated defense aid to Kyiv during a period when President Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president and 2020 candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Trump’s request of Zelensky as the White House delayed the aid was at the heart of House Democrats’ decision to impeach Trump this week on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. [Continue reading…]

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