Why is Trump moving against Ukraine?

Why is Trump moving against Ukraine?

by digby

Oh look. More Russia weirdness:

The Trump administration is slow-walking $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, annoying lawmakers and advocates who argue the funding is critical to keeping Russia at bay.

President Donald Trump asked his national security team to review the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior administration official told POLITICO on Wednesday.

But the delays come amid questions over Trump’s approach to Russia, after a weekend in which the president repeatedly seemed to downplay Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine and pushed for Russia to be reinstated into the Group of Seven, an annual gathering of the world’s largest advanced economies. The review is also occurring amid a broader internal debate over whether to try and halt or cut billions of dollars in foreign aid.

United States military aid to Ukraine has long been seen as a litmus test for how strongly the American government is pushing back against Moscow.

The Trump administration in 2017 approved lethal arms sales to Ukraine, taking a step the Obama administration had never done. The move was seen as a sign that Trump’s government was taking a hard-line approach to a revanchist Vladimir Putin despite the president’s public rhetoric flattering the Russian leader. Scaling back that assistance could expose Trump to allegations that his policies are favoring Moscow.
He does seem to be stroking Putin even more vigorously than usual. Perhaps he senses he's running out of time to deliver on his promises to him? I don't know if we'll ever know why he does this stuff.

But it could also be a shot across the bow to get them to be a bit more helpful with this, which is obviously a very important Trump campaign project:
Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that he had spoken with a Ukrainian official about Joe Biden's possible role in that government's dismissal of a prosecutor who investigated Biden's son.
The move shows the former New York mayor is making a renewed push for the country to investigate President Donald Trump's political enemies. Giuliani, who serves as Trump's personal attorney, has long lobbied Ukraine to investigate the former vice president's call in 2016 to remove the country's top prosecutor, who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company connected to Biden's son, Hunter. 
Other Western governments also called for that prosecutor's dismissal, and no evidence has indicated Biden's move was inappropriate. 
Ukraine's prosecutor general told Bloomberg in May he had no proof of wrongdoing by Biden or his son.

Giuliani told CNN that the State Department informed him that Andriy Yermak, who he called the lawyer for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wanted to meet with him. Yermak was appointed as an aide to Zelensky in May, according to local media reports. 
The two spoke twice over the phone, with Yermak offering to come to the US to meet with Giuliani before the two agreed to meet in Madrid last month, Giuliani said. 
Giuliani claims that Yermak asked him questions and that he didn't ask the Ukrainian lawyer to do anything because he "didn't need to." The focus of their conversation was on Biden's possible role as then-vice president in the prosecutor's dismissal and how Ukraine may have tried to damage Trump's campaign, Giuliani said. 
After several days of inquiry, the State Department confirmed Friday that it had assisted in connecting Yermak and Giuliani.
They think they can run a mirror Russia Investigation on Biden. And knowing the media's desire to equalize the coverage, I suspect they're right.