In 2017, with the enthusiastic support of Defense Sec. Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Trump administration moved to greenlight sending of over $40 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kyiv. But enthusiasm for the move wasn’t unanimous; in late 2017, as the interagency process moved forward, OMB temporarily gummed it up.
OMB’s move frustrated some officials in President Donald Trump’s administration, who saw delivery of the lethal aid as a key national security priority. It let them support Kyiv in a way that the prior administration hadn’t; despite pressure from Congress, the Obama administration declined to send lethal aid to Ukraine, arguing it would inflame tensions in the eastern part of the country. Russian-backed separatists started fighting against Kyiv there in 2014, when militias—which included Russian troops—annexed the Ukrainian-held territory of Crimea, along with other areas in the eastern part of the country.
In the first year of the Trump administration, Mulvaney was OMB director. His agency was seen as an outlier in its hesitance regarding the Javelins.
“Why was Mick Mulvaney upholding Susan Rice and Barack Obama’s bad Ukraine policy?” one administration official told The Daily Beast.