Pentagon left in the dark over delay in Ukraine aid, official testified

Comparing Trump & Nixon impeachment inquiries

Washington — A top Pentagon official told lawmakers that Defense Department officials were in the dark about a delay in military aid to Ukraine, according to a transcript of closed-door testimony before the committees leading the impeachment probe released Monday.

Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, is responsible for overseeing U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. The delay of the release of nearly $400 million in aid is central to Democrats’ case against President Trump.

Cooper said the funds “were held without explanation,” and defense officials “began to raise concerns about how this could be done in a legal fashion.” The delay came as Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was spearheading an effort to persude the Ukrainian government to open investigations against President Trump’s rivals. 

Cooper’s appearance on October 23 was delayed for several hours after House Republicans stormed the secure hearing room and refused to leave, an act of protest against the Democrats’ handling of proceedings.

Read the full text of Cooper’s testimony here

Olivia Gazis contributed reporting.

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