Before He Was Elected, Trump Was Skeptical About Ukraine Aid

By Susan Jones | November 13, 2019 | 7:54am EST
JULY 21, 2016: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump address the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)
JULY 21, 2016: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump address the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)

( - According to witnesses quoted in the Mueller report, even before he was elected president, Donald Trump was leery about the United States getting too involved with Ukraine.

During platform committee meetings in July 2016, before the Republican National Convention, a proposed amendment endorsing "lethal assistance" to Ukraine was watered down to read "appropriate assistance."

According to the Mueller report, J.D. Gordon, a senior Trump campaign advisor on policy and national security, diluted the proposed amendment. Instead of supporting "lethal" assistance to Ukraine in response to Russian aggression, Gordon requested that the platform committee revise the proposed amendment to state that only "appropriate" assistance be provided to Ukraine.

Gordon said he sought the change because he believed the proposed "lethal" language was inconsistent with Trump's position on Ukraine.

Gordon told the Mueller team that he flagged the amendment because of Trump's stated position on Ukraine, which Gordon "personally heard the candidate say at a March 31 foreign policy meeting -- namely, that the Europeans should take primary responsibility for any assistance to Ukraine, that there should be improved U.S.-Russia relations, and that he did not want to start World War III over that region."

In his written response to Mueller, President Trump said "he does not recall being involved in the change in language of the platform amendment."

The amendment, as approved, supported "appropriate assistance" to Ukraine, which -- under Trump -- ended up being "lethal" military assistance, something the Obama administration refused to provide.

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, “President Trump is the first president to send lethal military aid to Ukraine. “I think it’s very important. And I think that’s something that’s been lost in – in all the hullabaloo about the – about the telephone call [between Trump and Zelensky on July 25].”


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