Donald Trump penned a letter to the President of Ukraine on May 29 congratulating him on winning the election. In the letter, Trump promised “unwavering” support to Ukraine and invited President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House. Trump wrote that the invitation was a symbol of the United States’ “commitment” to the young democracy.”
The letter was obtained by The Daily Beast. The letter was written before Trump requested that Ukraine investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter and before he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid.
Trump pledged in a letter, obtained by The Daily Beast, to stand by Kyiv no matter what. That was before he withheld aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating his rival. https://t.co/OrFBX5pRt5
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 6, 2019
“The United States and Ukraine are steadfast partners, working together to realize the shared vision of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine that is integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community,” Trump wrote. “Our partnership is rooted in the idea that free citizens should be able to exercise their democratic rights, choose their own destiny, and live in peace. As you said in your victory speech, your election demonstrates that democracy is possible anywhere in the former Soviet region. Ukraine’s success exemplifies the triumph of democracy over resurgent despotism. United States’ support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering.”
But the support has wavered. Over the next couple of months, it became apparent to the State Department and White House officials that something was keeping Trump and Zelensky from meeting up.
“We get asked by foreign leaders all the time to either come visit their country or to have them come visit here, and we try to be courteous and say yes,” Mulvaney said. “I don’t remember a serious conversation about setting up an actual meeting. There were no dates discussed.”
Weeks after the letter was sent Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, as well as officials with the State Department, worked to convince Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland worked to get Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating Burisma, which is a gas company that Hunter Biden sat on the board of.
A meeting was held at the White House on May 23, Sondland, along with Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, briefed Trump about their trip to Kyiv for Zelensky’s May 20 inauguration. At that time Donald Trump told Sondland and the others that he “was skeptical that Ukraine was serious about reforms and anti-corruption,”
During his testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Sondland stated that Sondland “he directed those of us present at the meeting to talk to Mr. Giuliani… about his concerns.”
“We were faced with a choice: abandon the goal of a White House meeting for President Zelensky… or we could do as President Trump directed and talk to Mr. Giuliani to address the president’s concerns. We chose the latter path,” Sondland said.