President Donald Trump delayed the almost $400 million in congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine as early as June, according to a CNN report on Wednesday.
Citing an unnamed senior administration official, CNN reported that Trump had frozen the funds and ordered Defense Secretary Mark Esper and then-National Security Adviser John Bolton to do a policy review in June, not mid-July as previously reported by the Washington Post.
Trump’s order was reportedly “confusing to people at the time” because the State and Defense Departments had already signed off on the aid and informed Congress that they were ready to send the funds after completing their own reviews.
In fact, the Pentagon had sent a letter in May notifying Congress it had “certified” that Ukraine had taken the proper steps to fight government corruption, contradicting one of Trump’s excuses for withholding the aid.
Additionally, Buzzfeed News reported on Wednesday that Ukrainian officials had no idea the aid was being withheld when Trump called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal told BuzzFeed News that they only found out in late August when their Washington Embassy sent them a letter about it, which didn’t explain the reason for the delay.
Watch Murray below:
CNN: Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in June, earlier than previously reported pic.twitter.com/8mzIfgCVdr
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 2, 2019