Senators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial
A bipartisan trio of senators will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday.
The meeting, scheduled to happen in Kyiv, comes roughly a week after Senate Republicans acquitted President Trump of both abuse of power in his actions toward Ukraine and obstruction of Congress in its subsequent investigations.
Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) will meet with Zelensky, saying they want to reiterate that Ukraine has bipartisan support and that the countries’ relationship remains “as important now as ever.”
“The future of Ukraine matters to the United States and we must make sure Ukraine knows that we view them as a strategic ally. This is why we’re going to Kyiv as a bipartisan delegation to reinforce our support with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,” the three said in a joint statement.
Each of the senators is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Johnson chairs the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, while Murphy and Barrasso are members of the subcommittee.
Zelensky found himself emerging as a key figure in the months-long impeachment fight when his July 25 phone call with Trump fueled calls for investigations and for removing the president from office.
Trump, according to a partial transcript of the call released by the White House, asked Zelensky to help “look into” former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
White House aides were tasked with halting the $391 million in military aid shortly after the phone call, according to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Pentagon documents that were published by the Center for Public Integrity.
“Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process,” Michael Duffey, a senior White House official, wrote to OMB and Pentagon officials on July 25.
Murphy and Johnson traveled to Ukraine together last year and met with Zelensky. Murphy, in a letter to House Democrats, said he believed Zelensky was “feeling the pressure.”
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