Senate Dems slam Trump for shifting funds meant to deter Russia to border wall

Senate Dems slam Trump for shifting funds meant to deter Russia to border wall
© Aaron Schwartz
A group of the Senate's top Democrats on national security slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE on Friday for shifting money meant to deter Russia toward the border wall and urged him to reverse his decision.
Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report MORE (N.J.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Intel leadership urges American vigilance amid foreign election interference Intel officials say Iran, Russia seeking to influence election Senate Intel leaders warn of election systems threats MORE (Va.) and Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Overnight Defense: Famed Navy SEAL calls Trump out | Yemen's Houthi rebels free two Americans | Marines fire commander after deadly training accident Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes MORE (R.I.) — the top Democrats on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence and Armed Services committees, respectively — sent a letter to Trump warning the decision would only embolden Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTrust and transparency are necessary to make COVID-19 vaccine successful Biden: Countries that interfere in US elections will 'pay a price' Biden swipes at Trump ally Giuliani at debate: He's 'being used as a Russian pawn' MORE.
"Your decision endangers our national security and signals to the Kremlin that the United States is not willing to stand up to its aggression," the senators wrote.
They added that "instead of sending a signal that could be interpreted by Vladimir Putin as an invitation to further aggression in Europe" that Trump should "support U.S. national security interests and reverse this decision."
The Pentagon announced last month that it would move roughly $770 million in European Deterrence Initiative funding toward the border wall as part of the larger $3.6 billion being shifted as part of Trump's emergency declaration.
The program, started after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, is meant to support U.S. troops in Europe, including training with allies.
The Democratic senators argued that the cuts raised questions about Trump's commitment to NATO, an international organization that the president has repeatedly criticized.
"These cuts signal to the Kremlin that you do not view its interference in Europe as a serious concern and potentially serve as a green light for Moscow to expand their malign activities," the senators added in their letter.
Lawmakers are currently debating whether or not to backfill the $3.6 billion as part of their fiscal 2020 spending bills.
House Democrats didn't authorize or appropriate the money as part of a mammoth defense policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), or as part of their military construction–veterans affairs spending bill.
The Senate included language replenishing the funding in the NDAA and is expected to include similar language in their military construction–veterans affairs spending bill, if it is released.