Former President Donald Trump called for a pause on all aid to Ukraine on Saturday.
At a rally in Erie, Penn., on Saturday the GOP frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination said that Congress should withhold military aid for Ukraine until the Biden administration cooperates with congressional investigations into the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter.
The address on Saturday evening essentially returned to the roots of his first impeachment in 2019, when he used military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into then-candidate Biden.
Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
He was acquitted in the Senate, where one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, voted with the Democrats.
Quid Pro Quo?
Trump said during the rally that aid should be withheld while the investigation into the Biden family continues.
However, the former president didn’t actually connect the dots on how current aid to Ukraine plays into the past business dealings of Hunter Biden – especially as most of NATO, and other Western nations, have provided military assistance to Kyiv.
“Congress should refuse to authorize a single additional shipment of our depleted weapons stockpiles … to Ukraine until the FBI, DOJ and IRS hand over every scrap of evidence they have on the Biden Crime Family’s corrupt business dealings,” Trump said at the rally.
The former president also warned that Republicans who don’t join the efforts should be challenged in their primaries by Trump-endorsed candidates, and he suggested the same should apply to the Republicans who voted for his impeachment after the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
“They have to play tough,” Trump said. “If they’re not willing to do it, we got a lot of good, tough Republicans around … and they’re going to get my endorsement every single time.”
House Republicans are currently investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China and Ukraine that occurred during the Obama administration when his father was vice president. At the time, Hunter Biden held a well-paid board position at a Ukrainian energy company.
The White House has countered that the Republican lawmakers have failed to present evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden. Yet, Congressional Republicans have voiced frustration with the administration’s responses to their demands for records, and it has become a common point of tension between lawmakers and administrations of opposing parties. To date, the Oversight Committee has obtained thousands of pages of financial records, in addition to viewing bank activity reports from the Treasury Department and a sensitive internal FBI report.
Trump Claimed He Could End the War
Trump had previously pushed back against the U.S. providing financial aid to Ukraine in order to oppose Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country, while he has claimed that if reelected president he could end the war between the two countries in 24 hours by forcing both sides to the negotiation table.
The former president further referenced recent reports that have indicated that U.S. stockpiles of missiles and ammunition have become depleted as the country continues to provide weapons to Ukraine. Earlier this month, President Biden agreed to supply Kyiv with cluster munitions after citing that the U.S. inventory of 155mm artillery ordnance was diminished.
The Pentagon had also requested additional funding compared to last year to help grow its munitions.
To date, the United States has provided Ukraine with more than $113 billion in aid. Supporters of the aid have suggested that it is crucial to counter Russian aggression – which could drag the U.S. and NATO into a larger conflict.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Ammar Moussa also responded to Trump’s statements, telling The Washington Post on Saturday, “Just like when he was impeached, Trump is using aid to Ukraine to play politics, which only serves to benefit one person: Vladimir Putin. MAGA Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Kevin McCarthy are echoing Trump’s baseless attacks, floating a political impeachment, and wasting taxpayer dollars instead of working with President Biden on actually delivering lower costs, more jobs, and safer communities for the American people.”
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.