President Trump has consistently promised to both “drain the swamp” that is Washington, D.C., as well as to make our allies — particularly those in Europe — more accountable to the American people for receiving vast sums of foreign aid from the U.S. government. Earlier this year, Ukraine, the poorest country in Europe, with a chaotic political system (one that is bifurcated between a Russian-friendly minority population mostly in the country’s east), was set to receive $400 million worth of foreign aid from the United States. Some of this aid would include lethal weapons for their military to deter future Russian aggression (in 2014, the Russians infamously invaded and annexed the geostrategically vital Crimean Peninsula).
The president had previously authorized lethal aid to Ukraine. Trump was annoyed that none of America’s European allies were paying anywhere near as much to help prop up the troubled Ukrainian government. He had also become upset with the amount of money Ukraine had received from American taxpayers over the years — especially in light of the fact that so many Democrats enjoyed dubious (and prosperous) ties to several shady entities in Ukraine.