This is just another example of the disinformation campaign the Trump administration has to deal with.
On Monday, as part of Congress’ impeachment inquiry into whether President Trump withheld military support for Ukraine, legislators released testimony from Christopher Anderson, who served as a top aide for Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations. Anderson stated that President Trump had asked the U.S. Navy to cancel a routine “freedom-of-navigation” operation in the Black Sea, near Ukraine, earlier this year.
But on Wednesday, the U.S. Navy dismissed Anderson’s version of events. “U.S. 6th Fleet conducted our naval operations in the Black Sea region as scheduled in January and February 2019. The U.S. Navy will continue to operate in the Black Sea consistent with international law, to include the Montreaux Convention,” Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a spokesman for Naval Forces Europe-Africa asserted, as Stars and Stripes reported.
On Monday, Politico reported that Anderson recalled an alleged early-2019 conversation in which former national security adviser John Bolton said Trump had complained about a CNN story insinuating the Navy was countering Russian aggression in the Black Sea. Anderson told legislators, “Ambassador Bolton relayed that he was called at home by the president, who complained about this news report.”
Stars and Stripes added, “NAVEUR said Wednesday that no missions in the Black Sea were canceled or aborted in January. The USS Fort McHenry conducted maneuvers in the Black Sea in early January. This was followed by a patrol that month by the USS Donald Cook, which visited Georgia, NAVEUR said. The service carried out similar operations in February.”