28,707. 9/25/2019

DEFENSE/FOREIGN AID/MILITARY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “President Donald Trump’s freeze of military aid for Ukraine landed this summer at a Pentagon in turmoil, led by its third acting secretary in just a few weeks — with no leader at the top with the stature to quash the move. The leadership vacuum at the top of the Defense Department is just one element in the chain of decisions on the nearly $390 million in Ukraine aid, a freeze that set the stage for a grave political crisis for Trump after POLITICO published the first report on the holdup Aug. 28. It’s also an example of the erosion of institutional checks on the Trump administration, which has installed acting or temporary leaders in a host of crucial leadership positions. Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, by contrast, had a reputation for pushing back on Trump — and when the president ordered U.S. troops withdrawn from Syria in December, overriding his commanders, Mattis rebuked him with a resignation that stunned his allies in Congress.”

Wesley Morgan, “Trump’s Ukraine holdup hit a rudderless Pentagon,” Politico, September 25, 2019 6:24 pm

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