‘Trump tied Ukraine aid to US po­lit­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion’

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s with­hold­ing of $391 mil­lion in mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine was linked to his re­quest that the Ukraini­ans look into a claim — de­bunked as a con­spir­acy the­ory — about the 2016 U.S. elec­tion, a se­nior pres­i­den­tial aide said on Thurs­day, the first time the White House ac­knowl­edged such a con­nec­tion.

Trump and ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials had de­nied for weeks that they had de­manded a “quid pro quo” — a Latin phrase mean­ing a fa­vor for a fa­vor - for de­liv­er­ing the U.S. aid, a key part of a con­tro­versy that has trig­gered an im­peach­ment in­quiry in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives against the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent.

But Mick Mul­vaney, act­ing White House chief of staff, ac­knowl­edged in a brief­ing with re­porters that the U.S. aid — al­ready ap­proved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump’s con­cerns about a Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee (DNC) com­puter server al­leged to be in Ukraine.

“I have news for ev­ery­body: Get over it. There is go­ing to be po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence in for­eign pol­icy,” Mul­vaney said.

He later con­tra­dicted him­self, rul­ing out a quid pro quo in a state­ment from the White House.

In a July 25 call, Trump asked Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Ze­len­skiy for “a fa­vor” to look into the server as well as the Cal­i­for­nia-based cy­ber­se­cu­rity firm CrowdStrik­e, which was hired by the DNC in 2016 to in­ves­ti­gate hack­ing of Demo­cratic emails that it later de­ter­mined was done by Rus­sia.

Trump also asked Ze­len­skiy to in­ves­ti­gate a do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal op­po­nent, Joe Bi­den, and Bi­den’s son Hunter Bi­den, who had served as a direc­tor for a Ukrainian en­ergy com­pany.

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