Donald Trump Was Told Ukraine Cannot Fight Russia Without U.S. Aid, Then He Cut Off Aid, Secret Tape Shows

Donald Trump wondered in April 2018, how long Ukraine could survive its ongoing war with Russia. He was told that without the United States aid, Ukraine would not last “very long.” About 14 months later — after a months-long, unsuccessful attempt to pressure Ukraine into announcing a bogus investigation of Democrat Joe Biden — Trump ordered a cutoff in military aid to Ukraine, holding back a package worth nearly $400 million, according to a timeline published by the national security site Just Security.

One month earlier, or about 13 months after the 2018 dinner, Trump fired the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

Trump was informed that Ukraine would not survive its war against an ongoing Russian invasion “without us,” at an April 30, 2018, dinner for high-dollar donors connected to a pro-Trump Super Pac known as America First Action. A previously secret cell phone recording of the nearly-90 minute dinner was released on Saturday by a lawyer for Lev Parnas.

The recording — which is embedded below on this page — was made by Igor Fruman, a business partner of Parnas. The pair are close associates of Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and were deeply involved in the pressure campaign to elicit the supposed investigation of Biden.

At the same dinner, Parnas falsely tells Trump that U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch had been openly derisive of Trump, “walking around telling everybody” that he would be impeached, as quoted by a Radio Free Europe account.

Trump responds, as heard on the recording above, by telling an associate at the dinner, “Get rid of her!”

He later instructs the associate, “Take her out. OK? Do it.”

The discussion of Ukraine occurred at the dinner shortly after Trump was told by one of the donors in attendance that if the United States exported liquid natural gas (LNG) to Europe, Russia would be ruined economically.

“If we export LNG, we can supply Europe and Putin’s done,” the dinner attendee tells Trump, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He’s over. He’s done,” the attendee adds.

But Trump quickly changes the subject, asking, “How ’bout Germany opening a pipeline into Russia?” and complaining that the Germans allegedly pay Russia “2 billion dollars a month,” as heard on the secretly made recording.

The delay of Ukraine aid ordered by Trump was ruled to be a violation of United States law, in a decision issued earlier this month by the General Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan congressional agency that investigates governmental conduct.

Trump’s holdback of the military aid, and firing of Yovanovitch, are now central to the charges against him in his Senate impeachment trial, as summarized by The Washington Post. A House of Representatives investigation found that both the aid holdback and the firing were part of Trump’s effort to force Ukraine into the Biden investigation, for the purposes of helping his own reelection bid in the 2020 presidential election.

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