New report reveals Trump's latest gift to Putin: Slow-walking military aid to Ukraine
Following President Donald Trump's turn playacting as a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin at the latest G7 summit, Politico reported Wednesday that behind the scenes, the White House is making lawmakers nervous as it "slow-walks" military aid to Ukraine.
Trump has directed his officials to review the need for the aid, the report found, causing the transfer to be delayed.
House Appropriations Committee spokesperson Evan Hollander said of the delay:
We have serious concerns about a freeze on these important appropriated funds, and we are urgently inquiring with the administration about why they are holding up these resources
Politico, citing an anonymous administration source, reported:
...the president wants to ensure U.S. interests are being prioritized when it comes to foreign assistance, and is seeking assurances that other countries are “paying their fair share.”Defense Secretary Mark Esper and national security adviser John Bolton are among the officials reviewing the Ukraine security funding.
The explanation isn’t sitting well with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties have pushed to increase military assistance to Ukraine and U.S. military efforts to deter Russia in Eastern Europe.
It also said the move is "annoying lawmakers and advocates who argue the funding is critical to keeping Russia at bay."
This isn't the first time, of course, that lawmakers and other observers have been suspect of Trump's actions as being overly friendly to Putin. Much of the speculation around this matter has been tied to Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election on Trump's behalf and potential leverage the Kremlin may have over the president. But the possibility has always remained that Trump just personally admires and favors the authoritarian leader and wants to see him succeed — a prospect that is frightening enough on its own.
And this new report comes on the heels of Trump's remarkable, if not surprising, behavior in at the G7 summit. Publicly, Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for getting "outsmarted" by Putin when Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine in 2014, violating international law. He didn't blame or criticize Putin at all for the illegal invasion that led to his ouster from the group and argued that Russia should be welcomed back to the G7. Multiple reports found that Trump clashed privately with the other world leaders over these suggestions, and he reportedly downplayed the importance of democracy within the group.