Ukraine just threw a huge wrench into Trump's key defense denying a quid pro quo

Sonam Sheth

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • Ukrainian officials were told in early August that the US had frozen nearly $400 million in military aid to the country, The New York Times reported.

  • The bombshell revelation throws a wrench into President Donald Trump's key defense amid allegations that he dangled security assistance in exchange for politically motivated investigations.

  • Trump has claimed that because Ukraine didn't find out about the frozen aid until it was publicly reported in late August, there was no possibility of a quid pro quo.

  • But The Times' reporting shows Ukrainian officials learned of the freeze weeks earlier, and while Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations that would help Trump's 2020 campaign.

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Ukrainian officials were aware as early as August that President Donald Trump had frozen nearly $400 million in military aid to the country, The New York Times reported.

The bombshell revelation throws a wrench into Trump's and his allies' key defense amid allegations that the president dangled security assistance in exchange for politically motivated investigations that would help his 2020 campaign.

Trump has claimed that because Ukraine didn't know the aid was frozen at the time he was pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically beneficial investigations, there was no possibility of a quid pro quo.

No witnesses who have testified before Congress so far have "provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld. You can't have a quid pro quo with no quo," Trump tweeted on Wednesday, quoting the GOP congressman John Ratcliffe.

Trump Zelensky

But according to The Times, Ukrainian officials learned of the aid freeze in early August — weeks before it was first publicly reported by Politico.

The Times reported that Ukrainian officials were told the hold up was not a bureaucratic glitch and that they would have to get in touch with the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to sort it out.

The timing of when Ukraine found out about the freeze is critical. In early August, when Ukrainian officials first learned of the hold up, Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and other US government officials were in the middle of pressuring Zelensky to cave to Trump's demand for investigations.

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