Eric Swalwell

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., speaks at a Politics & Eggs event, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. Swalwell is considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

 

Democratic politicians and some media organs have been pushing a rather significant falsehood for some weeks now.

That aid was withheld to Ukraine and that people died as a result.

A complete and utter falsehood. But spread by social media and articles like this one in Newsweek in October.

At least 13 Ukrainian soldiers were killed while President Donald Trump’s administration was withholding military aid from the country from mid-July to mid-September.

The men, aged from 20 to 45, are among at least 78 Ukrainian soldiers killed in action up to mid-September this year in the east of the country, according to various local media and Ukrainian government reports.

It is impossible to say whether timely delivery of American aid would have helped any individual soldier. But their deaths are a potent reminder that while the Trump administration was wrangling over military assistance, Kiev was—and remains—locked in a deadly struggle with its Russian-backed separatist adversaries.

The administration’s decision to delay almost $400 million in military aid was communicated to the State and Defense departments on July 18, according to The Washington Post. The Ukrainian government was not immediately made aware of the freeze.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) pushed the claim on Fox at the end of this past week – that people died in Ukraine because “Trump withheld aid” and that’s why President Volodymyr Zelensky would feel pressure to start investigations.

But Fox’s Shannon Bream pushed back against the falsehood saying the aid money was released to Ukraine according to the original schedule.

From Daily Mail:

‘There’s been testimony … that there was no gap in the aid. It was going to be produced by September 30th, that was the hope, that was the plan,’ she said.

‘There wasn’t a point where the aid wasn’t there when it was needed and people actually died,’ she continued.

Because there’s a huge lag time between when aid is passed/obligated and when it’s delivered, the Ukrainians didn’t even know there were any discussions of it potentially being withheld on the July 25th call, another one of the reasons the whole quid pro quo argument fails. Multiple witnesses testified to that fact during the hearings, noting both that the Ukrainians didn’t know about the aid being delayed and that there’s a lag time. Zelensky says he was never pressured.

Here they are testifying at the impeachment hearings about how aid passed in 2018 was just getting there in October of this year.

So while there were may have been a freeze or discussions about delaying it, it was not ultimately withheld.

Pretty hard to blame Trump for people dying when there was never a gap in the aid.

But why let facts get in the way of fake news? Notice how the Newsweek article didn’t even bother to factually link the Ukrainian soldiers who died to any aid they claimed was denied. “It is impossible to say whether timely delivery of American aid would have helped any individual soldier.” Uh-huh. Just believe what we say, even if we don’t bother to connect it.

But this is part of the spin behind a lot of the coverage of the matter.