Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump confirmed to reporters at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that he withheld almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, but claimed that he did so to force other European nations to contribute.
"I want other countries to put up money. I think it's unfair that we put up the money. Then people called me, they said 'Oh, let it go.' And I let it go. We paid the money. The money was paid. But very importantly, Germany, France, other countries should put up money. And that's been my complaint from the beginning."
Why it matters: The Washington Post first reported Monday night that Trump directed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to withhold the aid at least a week before speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — a conversation in which Trump admitted to discussing Joe Biden and his son. The aid was later released after pressure from Republican senators.
- The controversy has led to allegations that Trump may have extorted Ukraine into investigating a political opponent in exchange for military aid, prompting a renewed wave of calls for his impeachment among Democrats.
- Trump has previously said that there was no "quid pro quo" involved in his conversation with Zelensky and that they largely discussed the issue of corruption in Ukraine.