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Once a budget line, Ukraine aid now vexes Trump's presidency

A Quinnipiac poll finds that nearly half of voters believe Trump should be impeached and removed from the White House.

WASHINGTON — The military assistance for Ukraine that's at the center of President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry started as a mere line item in a massive spending bill.

The money was little discussed, was noncontroversial and was approved with strong bipartisan support.

So, lawmakers were mystified upon learning in August that the $391 million was held up. Trump had ordered the aid frozen, a decision carried out by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Credit: AP
President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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One U.S. diplomat has told House impeachment investigators he learned the aid was being withheld in a July 18 conference call. The diplomat, William Taylor, said he was astonished by the decision.

The eventual release of the aid to Ukraine came only after senators were about to deliver an embarrassing rebuke of the White House.

The results of a Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday shows that 55 percent of American voters approve of the U.S. House impeachment inquiry, which according to Quinnipiac, has now reached its highest level. While the poll also found that 43 percent of American voters disapprove of a House impeachment inquiry. 

The findings show that among voting Democrats, 93 percent approve of the House inquiry, while 53 percent of independent voters approve and 83 percent of Republicans disapprove. 

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 48 percent of registered voters, which is nearly half, say that President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from the White House. 

Nearly 24 Republicans in the House of Representatives walked in on a closed-door deposition Wednesday, in secured House Intelligence Committee spaces, according to CNN, to complain about the impeachment inquiry being led by House Democrats further heating up the fast moving process.