A new report provides a clearer picture of what happened behind the scenes at the White House, Pentagon, and within the State Department leading up to and during the 84 days that $391 million worth of military aid for Ukraine was withheld at President Donald Trump's insistence.
The New York Times published a story Monday that included interviews with people involved and information from documents and interview transcripts — some previously unreported — that gives more insight into the Ukraine matter that led to Trump's impeachment in the House one week before Christmas.
According to the report, White House aides suggested that Trump first raised the issue of holding back the aid because of something he read in a news story. In mid-June, officials then discovered a piece that ran in the Washington Examiner that detailed how the aid would be used.
In May, Trump had made his feelings known about Ukraine and allegations of corruption during a White House meeting.
"They are all corrupt, they are all terrible people," Trump said, according to the Times.
As word of Trump's order to withhold the aid spread throughout the administration, key decision-makers at the Pentagon, Office of Management and Budget, and the State Department started asking questions about why Trump wanted the money held back. The answers they received provided little clarification.
Mark Sandy is a career government official who oversees where the money in the federal government's discretionary budget goes, which includes the Ukraine aid. He raised concerns with several other government officials as to why those funds were held back.
"I asked about the duration of the hold and was told there was not clear guidance on that," Sandy said during congressional testimony. "So that is what prompted my concern."
After Sandy raised the alarm, the White House in July took away his authority to handle the flow of government funds, the Times reported.
A month later in late August, Trump was approached by three of his top officials — then-national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper — during an Oval Office meeting. Each made their case to Trump as to why the hold on the Ukraine aid should be lifted. Trump, according to the Times, responded by saying Ukraine was corrupt and he did not release the hold.
Over the following days, more officials and even Republican lawmakers pleaded with Trump to allow the Ukraine funds to be released. Trump refused to relent until Sept. 11, two days after congressional Democrats said they would investigate a whistleblower complaint that raised concerns about Trump holding back the money.
After a months-long probe, the House impeached Trump on Dec. 18 in a mostly partisan vote. Once the articles of impeachment are submitted to the Senate, that chamber will hold a trial on whether to remove Trump from office.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.