Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Aid to Ukraine seemed dead. Then secretive talks revived it.

House Speaker Mike Johnson had walked into something of an ambush.

President Biden had called in the four congressional leaders - Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), along with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) - to the Oval Office in late February ostensibly to talk about heading off a government shutdown. But Biden and the others had devised a plan to pressure Johnson to push through a Ukraine aid package that was deeply dividing House Republicans.

Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and CIA Director William J. Burns gave a dire presentation, warning that Ukraine would lose the war without immediate U.S. support. Sullivan briefed Johnson on exactly when Ukraine might run out of weapons, laying out in detail when it would no longer have a single artillery shell or air defense interceptor, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.


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