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 TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally 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) MenendezSenate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal Senate chairman schedules vote on Trump nominee under investigation MORE (N.J.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHow lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response Grenell says intelligence community working to declassify Flynn-Kislyak transcripts McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill MORE (Va.) and Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Trump to withdraw US from Open Skies Treaty | Pentagon drops ban on recruits who had virus | FBI says Corpus Christi shooting terror-related Trump to withdraw from Open Skies Treaty On The Money: Powell, Mnuchin split on benefits of easing COVID-19 restrictions | Warren, Mnuchin spar over Treasury's 0B bailout fund | Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill 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 PutinPostponed Russian World War II victory parade now set for June America's post-COVID-19 foreign policy House Democrats object to Trump sending ventilators to Russia MORE.
 
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"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.