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Impeachment Witness Testifies Delaying Foreign Aid Is Common Tactic

A State Department witness who testified before California Rep. Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry last week confirmed that the U.S. delayed aid to multiple foreign countries during the past year for a variety of reasons.
At the heart of the Democrats’ push to impeach President Donald Trump is the proposition that Trump abused his power in his decision to delay aid to Ukraine.
Democrats charge that the president sought to use his position to hurt a potential political foe — former Vice President Joe Biden — by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 call to look into Biden’s and his son Hunter Biden’s shady dealings in his country.
Trump did not mention any quid pro quo of $400 million in U.S. aid for taking that action during the call.
The president also said he wanted Ukraine’s help in investigating the nation’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election and asked for assurances that corruption in the former Soviet state was being dealt with — both reasonable requests.
Zelensky said he did not feel pressured by Trump. Further, Ukraine did not know the aid was being delayed until late August, so clearly the Ukrainians did not think any implied quid pro quo was in effect.
Trump finally released the aid at the request of GOP Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, among others, on Sept. 11, weeks before the end of the fiscal year deadline.
And there is, of course, one other important fact: Ukraine did not open an investigation of the Bidens before or since the aid was released.
The Washington Times reported that Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale testified that delaying aid to other countries besides Ukraine happened multiple times in 2019.
Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas asked Hale, “Is it fair to say that in the Trump administration U.S. aid is withheld from foreign countries for a number of factors?”
He answered in the affirmative.
“And you’ve testified in your prior testimony that it is normal to have delays on aid?” Ratcliffe said, to which Hale confirmed, “It does occur.”
Hale also verified that Ukraine was not the only country to have aid withheld, testifying that others included Pakistan, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Lebanon.

The State Department official said that aid to Lebanon still hasn’t been released, and he was given no explanation of why from those above him.
In summary, Ratcliffe asked, “So it’s fair to say that aid has been withheld from several countries across the globe for various reasons, and, in some cases, for reasons that are still unknown just in the past year?”
“Correct, sir,” Hale replied.
Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Defense, testified that while Trump delayed the aid to Ukraine, she was not aware of him taking any steps to cancel it, which would require congressional notification.
“There were only two ways to discontinue obligation of [Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative]: a president-directed recision or a [Department of Defense]-directed reprogramming action, either of which would need to be notified to Congress,” Cooper said. “I never heard that either was being pursued.”
So it would appear that Trump never intended not to deliver the aid.
After the many hours of impeachment witnesses, two central facts remain: The aid was released before the end-of-year deadline and no investigation was opened into the Bidens.
The Democrats made their political play and put their best efforts into building a case against Trump.
They failed.
It’s time to move on and trust the American people to decide who the nation’s commander in chief should be.

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