- The United States' quest to stop sending critical aid to Ukraine seems to have expanded beyond just halting the nearly $ 400 million military aid package.
- The Washington Post reported Thursday that the US is withdrawing in late August. his recommendation to restore some of Ukraine's trade privileges.
- The report states that John Bolton, then-national security adviser to President Donald Trump, informed Robert Lighthizer, a US sales representative, that Trump would likely oppose any policy that benefits from Ukraine's newly elected government.
- It is unclear whether Bolton gave the directive on Trump's orders or whether the president was even aware of the conversation.
- At the same time the US withdraws its trade recommendation, Trump and his allies have been involved in a shadow campaign that uses US foreign policy to pressure the Ukrainian government to launch investigations into the president's opponents.
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The United States in late August withdrew its recommendation to restore some of Ukraine's trade privileges, The Washington Post reported.
This move came after John Bolton, then President Trump's national security adviser, to Donald Trump, informed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthouse that Trump would likely oppose any action that would benefit the newly elected Ukrainian government headed by the president Vladimir Zelensky, the report said.
It is not clear whether Trump directed Bolton to convey this message to Lighthazer, or whether he was even aware of it. But The Post's report adds another layer to the growing portrait of the Trump administration's efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations that would benefit Trump before the 2020 election.
At the same time as the US withdraws recommending that some trade privileges be restored to Ukraine, the president and his allies were also engaged in a shadow foreign-policy campaign that included the suspension of nearly $ 400 million worth of military aid to Ukraine. Bill Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified before Congress this week that the decision to freeze aid is part of Trump's efforts to force Zelensky to take advantage of his inquiries.
The Post report shows that the pressure campaign may have
Taylor was one of nearly a dozen current and former government officials who testified as part of a Congressional impeachment investigation into Trump's use of public office for personal gain.
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Taylor's testimony also contradicts Gordon Sundland, US ambassador to the European Union, told MPs last week and at least one Democrat from the House said he could open Sundland to testifying.  Taylor testifies, after becoming US ambassador to Ukraine in June, he realized that there were two channels through which US policy toward Ukraine was pursued: an official, headed by Taylor, and an unofficial, led by Sundland, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, mini customises Energy Rick Perry and US Special Representative in Ukraine Kurt Volker.
The official channel focused on the United States' longstanding goals for Ukraine, such as avoiding Russian aggression and fighting widespread struggle. corruption in the country. But the unofficial channel, Taylor said, seems to have zeroed in on one key goal: to get Ukraine to help Trump's personal political motivations.
Taylor went on to describe in detail how he learned – and how his staff told him – Trump not only maintained military support for Ukraine, but also refused to meet with Zelensky at the White House while Zelensky publicly committed to investigating political rivals of Trump.
Taylor also recalled a conversation with Sondland that took place on September 1 in which Sondland told him "everything
Sondland went on and told Taylor Trump that he wanted Zelensky" in a public box "by releasing a statement in an interview with [UStelevisionannouncingtheinvestigations
The conversation between Taylor and Sondland took place days after the US withdrew its recommendation to reinstate certain commercial privileges in Ukraine and reports from The Post es new questions about what Sondland meant when it claimed "everything" depends from Zelensky, who made a public statement ordering the investigations Trump wants.
He is also likely to open new avenues of inquiry for House Democrats as they conduct an expanding impeachment investigation into Trump's conduct, leadership. Republican lawmakers have criticized Democrats for holding closed-door hearings, but legal scholars say Democrats are following protocol by gathering information and testimony and that public hearings will get in the way.