Washington: Donald Trump ordered almost USD 400m in aid to Ukraine to be frozen days before he allegedly asked its president to investigate the son of Joe Biden, US media said late Monday, quoting administration officials.
The reports in the Washington Post and New York Times add to a burgeoning crisis around Trump's July phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky and a possible attempt to coerce him into digging up information about Biden's son's business dealings in Ukraine.
Members of the Trump administration were instructed to tell lawmakers the freeze was due to an "interagency process", but to provide no additional information, the Post said, citing senior administration officials with knowledge of the matter.
Democrats have fumed as Trump's administration has blocked Congress from obtaining a whistleblower's secret complaint allegedly detailing the president's actions, and they have ramped up their demands for the document that sparked the latest crisis.
Trump has already acknowledged bringing up alleged corruption involving Biden and son Hunter on the call with Zelensky.
"Joe Biden and his son are corrupt," he said in a bald attack, providing few details other than to say Hunter Biden, who once served on a Ukrainian natural gas company's board, "took money from Ukraine." To date, there has been no evidence of illegal conduct in Ukraine by the Bidens.
Several Democrats argue that Trump's call for Ukraine to investigate Biden -- and what they suspect was a threat to condition the aid to Ukraine on the country doing so -- is impeachable conduct.