Soldiers fire a Javelin anti-tank missile during a live-fire demonstration north of Melbourne, Australia, in May. Photo: William West/AFP/Getty Images

The $39 million U.S. sale of 150 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 2 missile launchers to Ukraine has been approved by the State Department and informally signed off by Congress, Bloomberg first reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Ukraine is at the center of a whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The issue of U.S. military aid "played a role in initiating the impeachment inquiry," Politico notes.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Trump in their July 25 phone call "we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States," a White House memo shows. Trump replied, "I would like you to do us a favor though" before asking him to find out about a CrowdStrike conspiracy theory, per Axios cybersecurity reporter Joe Uchill.

The big picture: AP and other news outlets briefed by officials on the arms sale, which is expected to be confirmed officially soon, report that the deal is separate to the nearly $400 million in military aid Trump confirmed last month he had withheld from Ukraine. That aid has been released, according to ABC.

  • Per Reuters, the weapons deal was finalized weeks before Trump’s call with Zelensky in which they discussed the possibility of Ukraine investigating 2020 candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Background: Politico notes that Javelins have featured in American military support to Ukraine since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, pointing to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service showing that the U.S. has provided $1.5 billion in military assistance to the Ukrainian government from 2014 to June this year.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 32,694,155 — Total deaths: 991,273 — Total recoveries: 22,575,658Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 7,074,155 — Total deaths: 204,461 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

What they're saying: Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden of the White House on Sept. 26. Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic and Republican lawmakers along with other leading political figures reacted to President Trump's Saturday afternoon nomination of federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

What they're saying: "President Trump could not have made a better decision," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. "Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States."

Amy Coney Barrett: "Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me"

Trump introduces Amy Coney Barrett as nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Photo: Olivier Douleiry/Getty Images

In speaking after President Trump announced her as the Supreme Court nominee to replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett said on Saturday she will be "mindful" of those who came before her on the court if confirmed.

What she's saying: Barrett touched on Ginsburg's legacy, as well as her own judicial philosophy and family values. "I love the United States and I love the United States Constitution," she said. "I'm truly humbled at the prospect of serving on the  Supreme Court."