CLAIM: Ukrainian soldiers died fighting Russian invasion because President Donald Trump held up “security assistance” temporarily.
VERDICT: FALSE. The hold did not affect current funding or essential weapons.
House impeachment manager Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a U.S. Army veteran, suggested Wednesday in the Senate impeachment trial that President Trump’s hold on U.S. aid was responsible for tens of thousands of Ukrainian deaths. He made a similar suggested on Tuesday evening, during debate over procedural motions to govern the trial.
Witness after witness in the House Intelligence Committee confirmed that the hold on U.S. aid had nothing to do with the current military aid being sent to Ukraine. Rather, it affected future funding to be obligated in contracts.
Moreover, the “security assistance” that was temporarily withheld had nothing to do with the Javelin anti-tank missiles that President Trump had sent to Ukraine, and which witness after witness testified had been the key in tipping the balance of power in eastern Ukraine in favor of the Ukrainian military and against the Russian invaders.
Ultimately, the U.S. aid to Ukraine was approved ahead of the statutory deadline, and delivered as promised.
Yet Crow, citing his own military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly claimed that President Trump had put U.S. allies at risk by holding up the aid for several weeks, though not one witness testified that had happened. Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) delivered a powerful and passionate rebuttal to Rep Eric Swalwell (D-CA) when he tried to make the same case that Crow made about Trump being responsible for Ukrainian deaths.
Notably, Democrats did not object when President Barack Obama denied lethal military aid to Ukraine; allowed Russia to seize Crimea; abandoned promises to Eastern Europe on missile defense; or promised then-President Dmitry Medvedev that he would be more “flexible” in making further missile concessions after his 2012 re-eleciton.
Crow also claimed that Trump was “only interested in the Ukraine aid, nobody else.” Witnesses testified that the Trump administration had also held up aid to other countries, including Lebanon, and done so in the same fashion.
Moreover, Crow falsely claimed that Ukrainian officials were aware of the hold on aid; numerous witnesses, as well as senior Ukrainian officials, testified that they had been unaware until reports appeared in the media weeks later.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.