President Trump directed his acting chief of staff to hold back hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid from Ukraine about a week before he had the now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Washington post reported late Monday.
According to three senior administration officials who spoke to the Post, officials at the Office of Management and Budget told the State Department and the Defense Department in mid-July that Trump had “concerns” about handing over the nearly $400 million and wanted to further review the spending. The White House finally doled out the $400 million on Sept. 11, but not before telling Congress the delay was due to an “interagency process,” according to the Post.
The news comes as Congress continues its battle with the White House over a whistleblower complaint that’s believed to be related to a “promise” President Trump made during a phone call with a foreign leader, also believed to be Zelensky. As more information is revealed about the substance of the call — in which the President reportedly tried to pressure Zelensky to fabricate damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden — Democrats are growing increasingly comfortable with pursuing impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is reportedly set to make a statement on the matter Tuesday.
On Monday, President Trump unequivocally denied he threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the country into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.