Pentagon Letter Undercuts Trump Assertion On Delaying Aid To Ukraine Over Corruption

Earlier this week, President Trump cited concerns about corruption as his rationale for blocking security assistance to Ukraine. But in a letter sent to four congressional committees in May of this year and obtained by NPR, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood informed lawmakers that he “certified that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption [and] increasing accountability.”

At a news conference on Wednesday wrapping up a three-day visit to the United Nations General Assembly, Trump repeated his professed concerns about corruption as the reason for holding up $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine.

“We want to make sure that country is honest,” Trump said of Ukraine. “It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”

Trump has denied seeking to pressure Zelenskiy into carrying out such a probe by withholding the military assistance. That aid was released Sept. 11 after an angry bipartisan response from Congress to reports that the money was being withheld.

Article URL : https://www.npr.org/2019/09/25/764453663/pentagon-letter-undercuts-trump-assertion-on-delaying-aid-to-ukraine-over-corrup

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