Senators In Both Parties Were Left In The Dark On Ukraine Aid Delay

on July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media after attending a Senate Republican policy luncheon on July 31, 2018. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
September 30, 2019 11:36 a.m.

Before a whistleblower’s complaint exposed President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign against the Ukrainian president, senators on both sides of the aisle were scratching their heads for months wondering why the congressionally-approved funds for Ukraine weren’t being provided.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters last Tuesday that he had “no idea what precipitated the delay” and that he “was was not given an explanation” from the Trump administration.

Several of his Senate colleagues in the Foreign Relations Committee were equally confused about Trump’s decision for months.

CNN reported on Monday that Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) had asked Trump about the delay.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blasted Trump’s slow-walking of the military aid at the end of August as an attempt to “circumvent” Congress, though Menendez apparently believed at the time that the delay was connected to Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to CNN, Menendez’s office had been repeatedly calling the State Department about the military aid over the summer before he released the statement.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told CNN that he didn’t understand why the military aid was withheld, only that it was because of Trump.

“Everything I had heard was that this was a decision made by the President,” he said. “It was his decision and it was his decision alone.”

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