The quickly unfolding impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump has already ensnared many other people, while raising more and more questions. From the extent of Trump’s involvement in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals to the culpability of prominent officials in and outside his administration in that scheme, the public hearings that started this week have set the stage for an impeachment vote that could be among the most pivotal political moments in recent American history.
One of the questions swirling around this scandal is what the revelations about Trump will mean for future U.S. policy toward Ukraine. That is, can the Ukrainian government continue to rely on Washington as a reliable partner in its efforts to dislodge Russian-backed separatists from eastern Ukraine, while steering a course toward the European Union and fulfilling the promise of the country’s successful, pro-democracy revolution five years ago?
The fallout from the impeachment inquiry so far has already been swift. Just in the past month, reporting has revealed—and testimony has corroborated—that the White House placed a surprise, and apparently illegal, hold on congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine, totaling nearly $400 million. When Kyiv discovered the hold in early August, Ukrainian officials were, as The Wall Street Journal reported, “stunned,” leading them on a “panicked search for answers,” as Christopher Miller, a journalist based in Kyiv, added. At the time, the State Department, the National Security Council and the Pentagon were all “unanimous” in their support for providing the aid to Ukraine.