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Trump administration finally releases Lebanon aid

The Trump administration has released more than $100 million in assistance to Lebanon that had been on hold in recent months.
A congressional aide confirmed to POLITICO that the hold on assistance to Lebanon had been lifted. The aide added the administration “has not provided any explanation of why it was held.”
In all, a $105 million aid package that includes weapons meant for border security and night-vision goggles was held up, reportedly against the advice of the State Department and Pentagon.
The breakthrough was first reported by The Associated Press. The State Department had no immediate comment.
News of the freeze came as protests in Lebanon forced the resignation of then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri this fall.
The revelation also came amid a House impeachment probe centering on President Donald Trump’s dealing with Ukraine and whether Trump sought to condition nearly $400 million in assistance on the Ukrainian government digging up political dirt to damage former Vice President Joe Biden. Assistance to Ukraine, which was meant to deter Russia, was frozen over the summer and finally released in September amid a bipartisan congressional uproar.
Ahead of the news that the aid was released, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who visited Lebanon last month and criticized the holdup, wrote on Twitter that the administration’s holdup of assistance is ” illegal” and called the situation ” eerily similar to Ukraine.”

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