Trump admin delayed Ukraine trade privileges while withholding aid: WaPo – Business Insider

The United States’ move to stop sending critical assistance to Ukraine appears to have extended further than just the suspension of a nearly $400 million military-aid package.The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the US in late August withdrew its recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges.The report said John Bolton, then President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, informed Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, that Trump would most likely oppose any policy that benefited Ukraine’s newly elected government.It’s unclear whether Bolton gave the directive at Trump’s order or whether the president was even aware of the conversation.At the same time the US was said to withdraw its trade recommendation, Trump and his allies were involved in what has been described as a shadow campaign that leveraged US foreign policy to pressure Ukraine’s government to launch investigations against the president’s opponents.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.The United States in late August withdrew its recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges, The Washington Post reported Thursday.The move came after John Bolton, then President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, informed the US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, that Trump would most likely oppose any action that benefited Ukraine’s newly elected government headed by President Volodymyr Zelensky, the report said.It’s unclear whether Trump directed Bolton to convey that message to Lighthizer or whether he was even aware of it. But The Post’s reporting adds yet another layer to a growing portrait of the Trump administration’s actions as it tried to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations that would politically benefit Trump ahead of the 2020 election.At the time the US was said to withdraw its recommendation to restore certain trade privileges to Ukraine, the president and his allies were engaged in what has been called a shadow foreign-policy campaign that involved stalling a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine. Bill Taylor, the US’s chief envoy to Ukraine, testified to Congress this week that the decision to freeze aid was part of Trump’s effort to force Zele
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