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Trump to keep Ukraine assistance unchanged
Journal Staff Report

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 - The Trump administration will propose allocating $115 million in State Department security assistance for Ukraine after seeking to decrease that number in each of its past two budget proposals, The Hill reported.

An official for the Office of Management and Budget confirmed Thursday that the administration's 2021 budget proposal would list the aid at current levels. That includes $250 million allocated through the Pentagon and $115 million allocated through the State Department's Foreign Military Financing program.

The official declined to comment further ahead of the full budget's release on Feb. 10.

Congress last year rejected a proposed cut to the State Department funding for Ukraine and appropriated $115 million for the 2020 fiscal year.

Details on this year's proposal come as President Trump is on trial in the Senate for his conduct toward Ukraine. The House last month impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after Democrats alleged he withheld security aid and a White House meeting for Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals.

The development was first reported by The Washington Post, which said administration officials were considering cutting the Ukraine funding to $20 million before abandoning the idea.

The administration has proposed allocating $20 million for the Ukraine program in each of the last two years, but Congress restored it to $115 in the final budget each time.

At the center of the Ukraine scandal is the allegation that Trump put a hold on $391 million in security aid for the country while he sought the country's help investigating the Bidens and Democrats.

Former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly wrote in his forthcoming memoir that Trump told him last August he did not want to release the aid unless Ukraine helped with the investigations.

Trump has denied tying the aid to investigations and his defense team has insisted the president froze the money out of concern that European countries weren't contributing enough and that Ukraine was a corrupt country. (th/ez)




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