In an impromptu joint press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the United Nations on Tuesday, Donald Trump was asked for the second time that morning to explain why he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine — aid that country badly needed to help hold off Russian incursions into eastern Ukraine in the war that has raged there for the past five years and killed approximately 13,000 people. When asked earlier in the day, Trump said that his decision was based on the supposed reluctance of European countries to “contribute” to Ukraine, as The Inquisitr reported.
Trump now faces accusations, which may possibly lead to impeachment proceedings, that he used the aid package as leverage to strong-arm new Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky into opening an unwarranted “investigation” into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, in effect forcing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 United States presidential election.
But in his answer to the second version of the question, in the appearance with Johnson, Trump appeared to go off on a rambling tangent about the various people he had told of his intention to hold back the aid, as quoted by the news site Raw Story.
“Why is it always the United States that’s paying? I made that loud and clear,” Trump said. “I told that the Mick Mulvaney, I told to a lot of people. I told it to Mike, two Mikes. I it told to Steve.”
As The Inquisitr noted earlier, Trump’s claim that European countries do not send aid to Ukraine is inaccurate. The European Union has provided upwards of $3.6 billion in aid to Ukraine since the war’s outbreak in 2014.
Continuing his rambling response, Trump claimed that “there was no pressure applied, no nothing” and said, “there was never any quid pro quo, the letter was beautiful, it was a perfect letter, unlike Biden.”
Watch Trump deliver his response to the question about withholding aid to Ukraine, in the video below courtesy of Fox News.
Though Democrats failed to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump earlier this year following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which listed 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump, the allegation that Trump used military aid as a tool of extortion against a foreign country to help smear a political rival is widely believed to be a “tipping point” that could lead to the House of Representatives voting to open a formal impeachment procedure, according to a CNN report.
As of Tuesday morning, according to CNN, 155 House Democrats as well as Michigan representative Justin Amash, a former Republican, have publicly stated their support for impeachment. A total of 218 votes would be necessary to open impeachment hearings.