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Politics Impeachment Probe Eyes Mulvaney’s Office in Early Effort to Hold Up Ukraine Aid

02:00  01 november  2019
02:00  01 november  2019 Source:   thedailybeast.com

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When the Trump administration first decided to sell Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, officials at the Office of Management and Budget moved to temporarily pause the effort, according to multiple sources briefed on the matter.

Mick Mulvaney wearing a suit and tie: Win McNamee/Getty Images© Provided by The Daily Beast Win McNamee/Getty Images

The unusual move didn’t just foreshadow the huge fight that has the president now facing impeachment. It also caught the eye of Congressional investigators in the impeachment inquiry. This summer, OMB delayed the provision of a second shipment of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. An Intelligence Community whistleblower pointed to the Trump administration’s decision to temporarily hold up the weapons as a source of concern about alleged efforts to extort Ukraine. Democrats responded by opening an impeachment inquiry.

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Earlier in his Army career, he served as an infantry officer and did tours in South Korea, Germany Kent told lawmakers that he raised red flags about Rudy Giuliani' s efforts to pressure Ukraine more Mulvaney acknowledged that aid to Ukraine at the center of a House impeachment inquiry was

In 2017, with the enthusiastic support of Defense Sec. Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Trump administration moved to greenlight sending of over $40 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kyiv. But enthusiasm for the move wasn’t unanimous; in late 2017, as the interagency process moved forward, OMB temporarily gummed it up.

OMB’s move frustrated some officials in President Donald Trump’s administration, who saw delivery of the lethal aid as a key national security priority. It let them support Kyiv in a way that the prior administration hadn’t; despite pressure from Congress, the Obama administration declined to send lethal aid to Ukraine, arguing it would inflame tensions in the eastern part of the country. Russian-backed separatists started fighting against Kyiv there in 2014, when militias—which included Russian troops—annexed the Ukrainian-held territory of Crimea, along with other areas in the eastern part of the country.

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Trump' s top Ukraine expert Vindman to testify in impeachment inquiry: Latest updates. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y. holds up a copy of a rough transcript of a phone call Kent told lawmakers that he raised red flags about Rudy Giuliani' s efforts to pressure Ukraine more than

In the first year of the Trump administration, Mulvaney was OMB director. His agency was seen as an outlier in its hesitance regarding the Javelins.

“Why was Mick Mulvaney upholding Susan Rice and Barack Obama’s bad Ukraine policy?” one administration official told The Daily Beast.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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The impeachment inquiry is examining Trump' s request for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine , allocated by Congress, were withheld "We're certainly not going to do it because of the president," Pelosi said in early October of a vote on

The OMB postponement didn’t last long, according to another source briefed on the matter. But the office’s ability to slow down the process is itself “unusual,” per a U.S. government official who works on arms sales.

“It is not their brief to have an opinion on the national security or foreign policy implications of arms sales,” the official said.

The incident has been discussed during Congress’s closed-door impeachment inquiry. Investigators are deeply interested in the history of the Trump administration’s Ukraine policy.

“If I were an enterprising reporter, I’d spend a little bit of time on the issue of Javelin missiles,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told reporters after stepping out of a closed-door deposition on Wednesday.

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If the House impeaches the president it would set up a Senate trial under the US Constitution in which the Thirty-one Democrats hold seats in congressional districts Trump won in 2016, which means And candidly, any suggestion that aid was held up for nefarious purposes is not being borne out by

alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine for dirt on political rivals in exchange for U. S . military aid and a quo, in which other witnesses have suggested Trump held back promised military aid to Ukraine until The lobbying took place amid growing partisan tensions over the impeachment inquiry. told him in early September that nearly 0 million in congressionally approved military aid was being

Mulvaney’s skepticism about the Javelin sales has drawn the attention of impeachment investigators, who are scrutinizing his work on Ukraine policy. He is already a central focus of the impeachment inquiry, thanks to his role in delaying nearly $400 million of U.S. security aid to Ukraine. Officials have testified that the Trump administration temporarily withheld that aid in an effort to force Kyiv to announce an investigation of the Bidens.

Various officials, including the anonymous whistleblower whose account launched the impeachment probe, have said that OMB—which remains under Mulvaney’s leadership after his promotion to Trump’s acting chief of staff—declined to explain to the Department of State, the Pentagon, and Capitol Hill why it froze the 2019 aid package. The postponement generated quiet confusion and frustration for months. It is highly unusual for OMB to get involved with funds that had already been apportioned by Congress, as the Ukraine aid had.

During a press briefing on Oct. 17, Mulvaney himself admitted to using the support money to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into the company Hunter Biden was linked to and theories that Kyiv meddled in the 2016 election. Those things, said Mulvaney, were “why we held up the money.” Later, after outcry from allies of the president, Mulvaney denied he said anything of the sort. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

—with additional reporting by Adam Rawnsley.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Mulvaney’s move to join impeachment testimony lawsuit rankles Bolton allies .
Former national security adviser John Bolton views the acting White House chief of staff as a key participant in the administration’s effort to pressure Ukraine.Former national security adviser John Bolton’s advisers and allies were taken aback to learn late Friday that Mulvaney had gone to court seeking to join a separation-of-powers lawsuit filed against Trump and the House leadership, according to people familiar with their views, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry.

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