During the impeachment testimony of State Department officials Laura Cooper and David Hale, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) used his time to dismantle a growing defense of President Donald Trump’s apparent use of Ukrainian foreign aid for an extortion scheme: that Obama didn’t give Ukraine aid either, so Trump didn’t even have to.
“Now as to the justification,” said Swalwell. “The justification is that the Obama administration only provided blankets, so the Ukrainians should be grateful, even after being shaken down, that the Trump administration provided more, but the truth, Ms. Cooper, is that under the Obama administration and the European Reassurance Initiative, $175 million were provided from U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Ukrainians, is that right?”
Sir, I don’t have that figure,” said Cooper. “The figure that we typically use is to say we’ve provided $1.6 billion to date, but I don’t have the breakdown in front of me.”
“And the Obama administration also trained five military battalions of the Ukrainians, is that correct?” Swalwell added.
“Again, I don’t have the figures in front of me, but yes, the training program began in the Obama administration, and we did train many forces,” said Cooper.
“And under the Obama administration founded Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative provided to the Ukrainians were armored Humvees, tactical drones, night vision devices, armored vests, and medical equipment, is that correct?” asked Swalwell.
“Those all sound like pieces of equipment that were provided in the Obama administration, to my recollection,” said Cooper.
“You would agree that’s a lot more than blankets, right?” asked Swalwell.
“Yes, sir,” said Cooper.
“Ambassador Hale, the aid that was withheld to Lebanon and Pakistan [under Obama], those were for legitimate foreign policy objectives, is that right?” continued Swalwell.
“I would say that’s true,” said Hale.
“And you would agree that withholding aid to investigate a political opponent is not a legitimate foreign policy objective, is that right?” added Swalwell.
“Correct,” said Hale.
Rudy Giuliani is desperately trying to save Trump using ‘the word of a KGB agent’: CNN’s David Gergen
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani this week has been in Ukraine working with a wide variety of shady characters with the intent of digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
Among other people, Giuliani has been talking to are Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat who is also suspected of working for Russian intelligence operations, and Andriy Derkach, who attended the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow and whose father was a former KGB officer.
Rick Santorum falls apart during CNN defense of Trump as fellow Republican Charlie Dent smirks
As CNN contributor Rick Santorum struggled to defend Donald Trump's quid pro quo proposal to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday morning, his fellow Pennsylvania Republican, former Rep. Charlie Dent, laughed at his fumbling for answers.
Sitting down with "New Day" host John Berman, Santorum once again attempted to make the case that the president was withholding aid over Ukraine corruption and not because he was seeking dirt on political opponents -- and didn't fare well as Berman kept fact-checking him.
With the two former GOP lawmakers on split-screen, Santorum refused to concede that the president was asking for a personal favor during the phone-call that eventually led to a House impeachment inquiry into the president's actions.
How Nancy Pelosi is outplaying Trump on impeachment
During a CNN "New Day" discussion on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) upbraiding a former Fox News reporter on Thursday for asking her if she hates Donald Trump, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman explained that the California Democrat has been one step ahead of the president when it comes to the ongoing impeachment proceedings.