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Wed Oct 30, 2019, 10:14 PM

(Timeline) White House Ignored Pentagon Warning on Ukraine Funding

White House Ignored Pentagon Warning on Ukraine Funding

By†KATE BRANNEN, Just Security, Slate

OCT 30, 20193:33 PM



As the summer wore on, and President Donald Trump would not budge on his decision to withhold almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine, the Pentagon warned the White House: If its portion of the money wasnít released quickly, the Defense Department would not be able to spend it before the fiscal year ended on Sept. 30.

The Pentagon even gave the White House a deadline. In late July, as panic spread within the administration over the presidentís worrisome decision, the National Security Council led a series of interagency meetings to discuss what to do about the military assistance to Ukraine. At one of these meetings, Defense Department officials told the White House that if the $250 million in security assistance was not released by Aug. 6, it would not be able to spend it all by the end of the fiscal year, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations.

The Defense Departmentís message was clear: If the White House didnít act, the Pentagon would be left with unobligated fundsómoney that would return to the U.S. Treasury and never make its way to Ukraine. And the Pentagon was also clear that providing Ukraine the security assistance was in the national security interests of the United States, on that point Trumpís Cabinet agreed.

ďAt every meeting, the unanimous conclusion was that the security assistance should be resumed, the hold lifted,Ē Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, said in his†opening statement†to House investigators last week.


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