By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is not a stupid man, but he’s making a claim regarding a “bombshell” email he says ‘proves’ that President Trump did, in fact, withhold military aid from Ukraine that is, well, stupid.
The email in question came after a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a transcript of which does not contain any threat from the White House to withhold lethal military aid from Ukraine as Democrats claim.
In fact, as U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland would testify during the House’s impeachment inquiry last month, President Trump specifically told him he didn’t want any “quid pro quo” from Ukraine — he wanted “nothing,” in fact.
But okay. Let’s play along.
Schumer tweeted out an email on Monday from Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffy that proves Trump lied or something and actually did withhold Ukraine’s aid.
91 minutes after President Trump’s July 25 call:
Michael Duffey sent an email ordering military assistance to Ukraine be withheld.
If there was ever an argument that we need Duffey and others to testify & we need the documents we requested—this is it.
This email is explosive. pic.twitter.com/XU1fcSV10z
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 22, 2021
But let’s actually read the email, shall we?
First of all, Duffy talks about a “pause” in aid while the White House “review” of the assistance — which is required by law (presidents have to certify that Ukraine is sufficiently battling corruption in order to continue qualifying for aid paid for by American taxpayers).
But what does a pause imply? Just that; it’s temporary. And we already knew that the aid pause was temporary because it was eventually delivered.
And to that last point, note in the Duffy email that the Defense Department would be continuing “its planning and casework” and that “brief pause in obligations will not preclude” the Pentagon’s “timely execution of the final policy direction.”
And what is that final policy direction? Delivery of military aid to Ukraine.
Let’s also note that Trump, not President Obama, agreed to send lethal military assistance to Ukraine in the form of Javelin anti-tank missiles.
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Obama sent Joe Biden, who demanded a quid pro quo — fire a prosecutor looking into a corrupt company paying son Hunter millions — or forfeit $1 billion in aid money.
Schumer is grasping at straws. And he knows it.
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