State Dept's David Hale: Multiple Countries Had Aid Withheld

Posted: Nov 18, 2019 9:22 PM

The House Committees conducting the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Monday released the transcripts of two closed-door depositions, one from Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and the other from Foreign Service Officer David Holmes.

In Hale's testimony, he made it very clear President Trump was wanting to review country's foreign aid as a means of ensuring taxpayer funds were being appropriately spent.

"Well, it [foreign assistance review] had been going on for quite a while, and the concept, you know, the administration did not want to take a, sort of, business-as-usual approach to foreign assistance, a feeling that once a country has received a certain assistance package, it’s a --- it’s something that continues forever," Hale explained. 

In general, Trump is opposed to providing foreign aid, which Hale said "guided the foreign affairs review."

"It’s very difficult to end those programs and to make sure that we have a very rigorous measure of why we are providing the assistance," Hale said. "We didn’t go to zero base, but almost a zero-based concept that each assistance program and each country that receives the program had to be evaluated that they were actually worthy beneficiaries of our assistance; that the program made sense; that we have embarked on, you know, calling everything that we do around the world countering violent extremism, but, rather, that’s actually focused on tangible and proven means to deal with extremist problems; that we avoid nation-building strategies; and that we not provide assistance to countries that are lost to us in terms of policy, to our adversaries."

Ukraine wasn't the only country that had aid withheld why a review was ongoing. According to Hale, Lebanon, Pakistan and the Northern Triangle countries were facing similar scrutiny.

"The President suspended the vast majority of our military assistance to Pakistan because of their failure to conform to our concerns about terrorist activity and the proxies that were operating in the border area of Afghanistan," Hale told the committee. "I’m just trying to go across the globe and try to remember what else."

But one of the most important parts of Hale's testimony: the United States' policy towards Ukraine remains unchanged, despite what the media tells Americans and no quid pro quo took place.

Below is Hale's full testimony: