President Donald Trump’s insistence that he only pushed Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden because he was concerned about “corruption” has been one of his primary defenses against House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
However, the Washington Post has uncovered some White House budget documents that directly undercut the president’s defense.
According to the Post, the Trump administration “has sought repeatedly to cut foreign aid programs tasked with combating corruption in Ukraine and elsewhere overseas” even though the White House has insisted that it is laser-focused on promoting good governance in the country.
Among other things, the White House tried to cut a program called International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement that sent $30 million to Ukraine that helped fund the country’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau and Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.
Another key program aimed at fighting corruption, the Economic Support and Development Fund, allocated $250 million to Ukraine in 2018 — but the White House requested that funding be cut to just $145 million in 2020.
“The cuts to anti-corruption aid stand in contrast to recent claims from administration officials and the president himself about being focused on corruption in Ukraine, raising the question of why the White House has not sought a larger budgetary commitment to addressing the issue,” the Post reports. “Democrats have largely dismissed the White House’s insistence that Trump was focused on corruption, but White House officials continue to say it was a primary reason the military aid was held up.”