JD Vance: Ukraine Aid Package Creates Impeachment Risk for Trump in 2nd Term

JD Vance: Ukraine Aid Package Creates Impeachment Risk for Trump in 2nd Term
Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) speaks at the Heritage Foundation's Leadership Summit in National Harbor, Md., on Apr. 20, 2023. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)
Ryan Morgan

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) is warning his fellow Republicans that a $95.3 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan creates an added impeachment risk for former President Donald Trump should he retake the White House next year.

President Trump has signaled a desire to see a peaceful settlement to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and has repeatedly said he would bring the fighting to an end within 24 hours if he were to return to the White House.

President Trump’s ability to end the conflict may hinge, in part, on stopping the flow of U.S. weapons and support to the Ukrainian side of the conflict.

Mr. Vance, an ally of President Trump, sent a memo to his Republican colleagues on Feb. 12, stating there exists a “hidden impeachment clause” in the supplemental spending bill that could constrain President Trump’s abilities to end the conflict.

The Ohio Republican wrote that if the provisions in the supplemental spending bill do become law, it would set the stage for an impeachment vote similar to the one President Trump faced in December 2019, over his decision to temporarily pause the delivery of $391 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to Ukraine for military assistance.

“The bill includes $1.6 billion for foreign military financing in Ukraine, and $13.7 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. These funds expire on September 30, 2025—nearly a year into the possible second term of President Trump,” Mr. Vance’s warning letter states. “These are the exact same accounts President Trump was impeached for pausing in December 2019.”

The 2019 impeachment articles, brought by the then-Democrat majority in the House of Representatives, alleged President Trump had improperly conditioned U.S. support for Ukraine on an announcement of an investigation into then-candidate Joe Biden. President Trump’s team argued during the impeachment proceedings that there was no clear evidence that he had conditioned aid on the announcement of an investigation by the Ukrainian government.

“If President Trump were to withdraw from or pause financial support for the war in Ukraine in order to bring the conflict to a peaceful conclusion, ‘over the objections of career experts,’ it would amount to the same fake violation of budget law from the first impeachment, under markedly similar facts and circumstances,” the Ohio Republican wrote.

Senate Advances Ukraine Aid

On Feb. 11, the Senate voted to advance the $95.3 billion supplemental spending package to a final Senate vote. Eighteen Republican senators joined 47 Democrats and two independents in the Senate to advance the military spending package.

“The supplemental represents an attempt by the foreign policy blob/deep state to stop President Trump from pursuing his desired policy, and if he does so anyways, to provide grounds to impeach him and undermine his administration,” Mr. Vance wrote. “All Republicans should oppose its passage.”

Although the supplemental spending package appears likely to pass in the Senate, it faces a less certain future in the House, where large numbers of Republicans have expressed skepticism of a bill that includes continued funding for Ukraine. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has indicated he could try to split the various aid provisions into separate measures once the bill arrives from the Senate, putting spending for Israel and Taiwan to separate votes.

A Republican-led attempt to advance standalone Israel aid through the House failed in a 250–180 vote, coming up short of the two-thirds vote margin it needed to pass under a suspension of the House rules; 204 Republicans and 46 Democrats voted in favor of the standalone Israel funding bill, and 14 Republicans and 166 Democrats opposed it.

Trump Seeks End to ‘No Strings’ Foreign Aid

President Trump indicated his skepticism of U.S. foreign aid programs in multiple separate remarks over the weekend.
In a post on his Truth Social media account on Feb. 10, the former president said the U.S. government shouldn’t continue to approve funds for other nations “without the hope of a payback, or without ‘strings’ attached.
Just hours after that post, President Trump told a crowd of his supporters in South Carolina that he wouldn’t order that the United States intervene to protect a NATO ally that is behind on its spending obligations to the mutual defense alliance.

Recounting his time in the White House, the former president described a conversation he allegedly had with the president “of a big country” who asked what the United States would do if his country continued not to pay its dues to NATO and came under attack.

“I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Let’s say that happened. No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage [Russia] to do whatever ... they want.’ You got to pay. You got to pay your bills,” President Trump said.

The former president went on to say this warning conversation he'd had with the unspecified leader of a NATO-allied nation prompted other NATO allies to contribute “hundreds of billions of dollars” to the alliance.

President Trump’s comments during the stump speech were met with alarm by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” Mr. Stoltenberg said in a Feb. 11 press statement. “I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the United States will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Zalewski told Politico it was appropriate for President Trump to call on NATO allies to meet their obligations to the alliance, but he said that suggesting Russia could be encouraged to attack member nations that are delinquent in their support to the alliance “is completely incomprehensible.”

The Biden administration also weighed in.

“Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged—and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Politico.