According to a new bombshell report by The Washington Post, President Donald Trump instructed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to place a hold on nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine shortly before a phone call in which he allegedly tried to persuade the nation’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden in order to release the funds.
Citing three senior administration officials, The Post reported that officials with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), for which Mulvaney also serves as director, passed the order on to the Defense and State departments at an interagency meeting.
According to the newspaper, OMB officials told the Pentagon and State Department that Trump had “concerns” about the necessity of spending the money and instructed them to simply tell lawmakers that the aid was being held due to an “interagency process,” which continued for nearly two months.
Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee said on Sept. 12, a day after the aid was released, that Trump held back the aid over concerns about corruption in the Ukrainian government and that it was released in advance of the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The official denied the motivation was to pressure Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, telling the Post that “it had nothing to do with a quid pro quo.”
Trump has denied any improper behavior in the July 25 phone call, the subject of an anonymous whistleblower complaint, and left open the possibility of releasing the transcript, but on Sunday he told reporters the discussion involved “the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son [contributing] to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”
Trump has denied making aid conditional on any investigation of Biden. The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the report.