Dec 3, 2019

Trump administration finally releases $105M in Lebanon military aid

Lebanese army soldiers with the 6th Brigade on the Syrian-Lebanese border in 2017. Photo: Patrick Baz/AFP via Getty Images

A senior Trump administration official confirmed Monday that $105 million in military aid to Lebanon was released after it was delayed for months without explanation.

The big picture: The administration has not disclosed the reason why the congressionally approved aid, which had "overwhelming support from the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council," was held up since September, per AP.

What they're saying: Officials would not confirm precisely when the aid was released, but sources told AP it was "just before the Thanksgiving holiday and lawmakers were notified of the step on Monday."

  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last week compared the holdup to the withholding of military aid for Ukraine that triggered the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
  • However, officials told AP there had been no allegation that Trump had asked Lebanon for "a favor" from Lebanon in return for the aid, unlike the Ukraine quid pro quo allegations — which the president denies and which Republicans on the House committees investigating the controversy concluded did not happen, per a report reviewed by Axios Monday.

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LA Times: $35 million in Pentagon aid remains unreleased to Ukraine

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

More than $35 million in congressionally approved aid to Ukraine has not been dispersed, according to a new report by the Los Angeles Times. The outstanding sum is part of the $400 million assistance package that President Trump delayed earlier this year, igniting the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Where it stands: Trump released part of the aid on Sept. 11 after a whistleblower report surfaced alleging a quid pro quo. Lawmakers granted the Pentagon a year-long extension to save $250 million worth of the aid before it expired at the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

House panel accuses OMB of "pattern of abuse" with Ukraine aid freeze

House Budget Chair John Yarmuth. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

House Democrats accused the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Tuesday of engaging in a "pattern of abuse" by unlawfully freezing nearly $400 million in Ukraine aid, an allegation now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, Politico reports.

Driving the news: A report released by the House Budget and Appropriations committees outlines a timeline of the aid being withheld, with the first official OMB action to halt the aid coming on the evening of July 25 — hours after President Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019

Sen. Chris Murphy says Ukraine won't admit pressure because of reliance on U.S.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) argued on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Ukrainian officials will not say that President Trump conditioned military aid on their announcement of political investigations because "they are presently reliant on the goodwill of Donald Trump."

Go deeperArrowNov 17, 2019