Schiff Accuses Trump of Risking US Security by Delaying Ukraine Aid, but Obama Denied Lethal Weapons Altogether
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has claimed multiple times over the last few days that President Donald Trump jeopardized the security of the United States and betrayed his oath of office by delaying military aid to Ukraine.
The California Democrat must have a short or selective memory, because former President Barack Obama, unlike Trump, denied any lethal military aid to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of that country in 2014.
Did Obama violate his oath of office?
“Yesterday, we were presented with the most graphic evidence yet that the president of the States has betrayed his oath of office, betrayed his oath to defend our national security, and betrayed his oath to defend our Constitution,” Schiff said to open an Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday during which acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified.
“For yesterday, we were presented with a record of a call between the president of the United States and the president of Ukraine in which the president — our president — sacrificed our national security and the Constitution for his personal political benefit,” he said.
The White House released a transcript on Wednesday of a July phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into allegations that former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, engaged in public corruption in Ukraine. The leaders also discussed the corruption that has plagued the country more broadly.
During a joint news conference with Trump at the United Nations on Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader said he did not feel pushed by the president’s request about Biden, which came during the course of a 30-minute call.
During the media availability, Trump highlighted Obama’s refusal to send lethal military aid to Ukraine despite the invasion of the nation by Russia.
“We put up a lot of money [for Ukraine],” he said. “I gave you anti-tank busters that — frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets, and I gave you anti-tank busters.”
“And a lot of people didn’t want to do that. But I did it,” Trump added.
The Javelin anti-tank missiles that Obama refused to send have made a major difference in Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Trump greenlit the sale of lethal weapons, including the Javelins, during his first year in office.
“Col. Andrii Ordynovych, Ukraine’s military attache in Washington, said that when Ukraine’s military began using U.S.-provided Javelin anti-tank weapons, Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers that once operated with devastating impunity had backed off,” Defense News reported.
“That was a strategic deterrence,” Ordynovych said.
“The Javelin is the best anti-armor system anywhere in the world. It goes out to 2 kilometers and it will destroy any armored vehicle, any tank,” retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, a former U.S. Army Europe commander, said. “It’s powerful and easy to use, so it was a powerful increase in Ukrainian capabilities.”
Defense News explained that the Obama administration was worried it would provoke Moscow if it provided the Javelins and other lethal military aid to Ukraine.
“Javelins were considered a step up, and the concern was what the Russians were going to step up on their end,” Jim Townsend, who served as a top official in the Obama Defense Department, told the news outlet.
So the Obama administration decided its best move was not to send lethal military aid to Ukraine.
I don’t recall Schiff or any other Democrats charging the then-commander-in-chief with jeopardizing U.S. security and failing to defend the Constitution.
Nonetheless, Schiff pushed this line of reasoning about Trump’s supposed betrayal hard on Thursday.
“To understand how he did so, we must first understand just how overwhelmingly dependent Ukraine is on the United States militarily, financially, diplomatically and in every other way,” Schiff said.
“And not just on the United States, but on the person of the president. Ukraine was invaded by its neighbor, by our adversary, by Vladimir Putin’s Russia,” he said. “It remains occupied by Russian irregular forces in a long-simmering war.”
Once again, a reminder to Schiff: This invasion happened in 2014, right smack in the middle of Obama’s second term.
“Ukraine desperately needs our help and for years we have given it, and on a bipartisan basis,” Schiff said. “That is, until two months ago, when it was held up, inexplicably, by President Trump.”
The lawmaker acts as if the aid is still being denied. Trump released it two weeks ago after Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and others impressed upon him how vital it is.
Trump has said he delayed the aid because he wanted assurances that Zelensky was committed to rooting out the corruption and he wanted commitments from other nations, particularly in Europe, to also help Ukraine.
That certainly is a reasonable request before releasing $400 million in U.S. taxpayers’ money.
It is Adam Schiff and not Donald Trump who has betrayed his oath of office and weakened the U.S. standing on the world stage by continually making over-the-top and outright false allegations against the commander-in-chief.
Since taking office, Trump has done much to strengthen the nation’s defenses, while Schiff has done everything he can to try to undermine him and the Constitution by maliciously seeking to remove the duly elected president of the United States.
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