White House Withdrew Ukraine Trade Decision in August: Report
White House trade representative Robert Lighthizer reportedly withdrew a recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges in late August, after then-National Security Adviser John Bolton told him President Trump would likely oppose the move. One official told The Washington Post that Lighthizer’s recommendation was “pulled back shortly before it was going to POTUS’ desk” because “Bolton intervened with Lighthizer to block it.” Two other officials didn’t mention Bolton when talking about the hold-up—with one saying the delay was due to the “country review process,” while another said Trump wanted the entire global trade program involving Ukraine to be eliminated.
After Bolton resigned in September, Lighthizer submitted a second round of paperwork to restore some Ukraine trade privileges—only to withdraw them again on Oct. 17. The Trump administration reportedly now plans restore some trade privileges to Ukraine next month. Trump has admitted to withholding $391 million in military aid to Ukraine. House Democrats are currently conducting an impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump withheld the funds to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.