Volodymyr Zelensky was wiping his face from the crumbs of a 125-million-dollar meal, fed to him by the Pentagon between March and July of 2019, when he spoke to President Trump on July 25.
The president needs better legal counsel, as do the American people. The current impeachment illusion is based on a pandemic mirage. The nation has been hypnotized to believe that $391.5 million for Ukraine was held back, frozen, slow-walked, canceled, or subject to a nefarious threat by Trump. Wake up, America. Every penny of Ukraine monetary aid, the alleged carrot dangled before Zelensky, was spent on time, according to law, before, during, and after the July 25 call.
The Department of Defense certified Ukraine reforms in a May 23, 2019 letter from John C. Rood to Congress, but this certification was only necessary to release the second $125-million tranche. Read the letter. The tables therein refer to that $125 million as “Tranche 2.” So what happened to the first $125 million? It was already spent on Ukraine before the July 25 phone call with Zelensky.
On February 28, Rood wrote to Congress about the first $125 million. He informed Congress the Pentagon was going ahead with this money for Ukraine. It was spent by July to defend Ukraine from Russian aggression. This is the real reason why neither Zelensky nor any other Ukraine official knew that assistance was “held up.” The money was flowing freely to them, never subject to nefarious Trump subterfuge. How do I know this? It’s hiding in plain sight.
The Wall Street Journal published the following report by James Marson on March 11, 2019:
The U.S. is channeling support to Ukraine’s navy to help counter Russian efforts to choke its neighbor’s economy and destabilize its pro-Western government by blocking access to ports.
U.S. training and equipment have helped strengthen Ukraine’s army in its five-year conflict with Russia, but the fresh U.S. focus reflects concern over the Kremlin’s new maritime efforts to halt Ukraine’s westward integration and keep Russia’s sphere of influence.
Ponder “fresh U.S focus” on “channeling support to Ukraine’s navy.” Funds used to provide this fresh military support of Ukraine back in March were released from the first $125-million tranche.
See the actual break down of how the first $125 million was spent in a fact sheet graphic posted at Securityassictance.org from their July 2019 edition of “In Focus.” It confirms that the first $125 million was already “provided” by July, and it also mentions the second $125-million tranche:
The $125 million in aid listed above is only half of the DoD’s intended $250 million in security aid for FY19.
But the award for most deceptive publication of an impeachment-destroying fact must go to the wonderful folks at the Associated Press. On September 27, 2019 they published the following confirmation:
Rood, in his letter, noted that ‘there remain areas that require significant attention’ by Ukraine, and that the United States remains committed to helping its ‘multi-year effort,’ suggesting that fighting corruption was seen as a long-term project.
He had notified Congress in February that the Pentagon was going ahead with the first $125 million in security assistance. By law, certification of Ukraine’s progress against corruption and in defense reforms was required before the second $125 million in aid could be provided.
The Pentagon began spending the first tranche upon Rood’s February 28th letter to Congress, and the $125 million was spent by July.
The AP article also notes that only the second tranche required DoD certification. But what wins AP the aforementioned deception award is the first sentence of this same report:
President Donald Trump has said he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine because of corruption in the country…
The key word above is “said.” The president did not do what the AP claims the president said he did.
The statute authorizing security assistance requires Ukraine to crack down on corruption so our money doesn’t end up in the pockets of oligarchs. It mandates:
The certification described in this paragraph … by the Secretary of Defense … that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms … for purposes of decreasing corruption … and sustaining improvements of combat capability … shall include an assessment of the substantial actions taken to make such defense institutional reforms and the areas in which additional action is needed[.]
The only funds held back throughout this ordeal were accomplished by congressional enactment, not executive discretion. Trump never impounded Ukraine funds. It’s a myth based on a verbal typo. Weeding out corruption in Ukraine is a primary focus of this statute, and when Trump refers to holding back money from Ukraine, it’s to this statute he obviously makes reference.
POTUS had no legal mechanism available to rescind (cut) or defer (set aside), Ukraine security assistance without sending a special message asking Congress for legislative approval. This never happened. No such message was ever sent.
Delays getting the rest of the money to Ukraine resulted from statutorily mandated reviews of apportionments and reapportionments. Thirty-one USC 1512(d) states:
(d) An apportionment or a reapportionment shall be reviewed at least 4 times a year by the official designated in section 1513 of this title to make apportionments.
Read current media reports carefully, and you’ll begin to notice the word “review” in reference to delays concerning the remaining Ukraine aid. On November 14, Roll Call let this clue slip:
A subsequent review by top White House officials including then-National Security Adviser John Bolton took longer than expected, and the hold was extended several times, according to the official.
Such reviews were legally required to spend money on Ukraine efficiently. This type of delay concerns apportionment (and potential reapportionment) of funds to Ukraine, not from Ukraine, should the review reveal better ways to spend the money for Ukraine’s benefit.
Not one dollar of the $391.5 million was ever subject to Trump unilaterally taking any action that would cut funds from Ukraine or delay such funds for any other reason. The president doesn’t have authority to do what they say he said he did.
The Roll Call article also gives this blockbuster nugget under the radar:
Aug. 9: The OMB releases the State Department and USAID funds — but not the Ukraine money[.]
This refers to the $141.5 million in State Department funds granted to Ukraine separately from the $250 million in security assistance. If Roll Call is accurate on this bullet point, $266.5 million of the $391.5 million was released for Ukraine by August 9, 2019. (It’s possible Roll Call got their math wrong and the August 9 release only pertained to $26.5 million of the $141.5 million in State Dept. funds.)
“Not the Ukraine money” is a clunky look to the $250 million in security assistance aid. Roll Call failed to inform readers $125 million was spent on Ukraine by July.