Ukraine may have been aware that security assistance was being withheld sooner than previously known, according to testimony from Department of Defense (DoD) official Laura Cooper.
Cooper testified to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that after her closed-door deposition, members of her staff indicated that they had received emails from the State Department suggesting that Ukraine was aware of an issue with the military aid on July 25, the same day as President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (RELATED: Ukrainian Foreign Minister: No Link Between Aid And Investigation)
“My staff showed me two unclassified emails that they received from the State Department. One was received on July 25 at 2:31 PM. That email said that the Ukrainian embassy and House Foreign Affairs Committee are asking about security assistance. The second email was received on July 25 at 4:25 P.M. That email said that the Hill knows about the FMF situation to an extent and so does the Ukrainian embassy,” Cooper said.
Cooper later clarified that the emails did not “necessarily” mean that Ukraine was aware that there was hold, and may have been asking more generally about the assistance and related issues.
“The way I would phrase it is that there was some kind of an issue,” Cooper explained.
The testimony could complicate the White House’s defense that there could be no “quid pro quo” if Ukraine was not aware that Trump had ordered a hold on security assistance. House Democrats have argued that it was clear Trump was leveraging the aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden.
However, other individuals, Bill Taylor, Kurt Volker, and Tim Morrison have testified that Ukraine did not know there was a hold on aid until late August. Ukrainian President Zelensky also stated that he did not know aid was being withheld while he was on the phone call with Trump.