Ukrainian Officials May Have Been Aware of the Hold on Security Aid Before Previously Known

Alex Brandon/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

On Wednesday, a top Pentagon official, Laura Cooper, told House lawmakers that her staff received word from Ukraine’s embassy asking about “security assistance” in an email on July 25—the same day that President Donald Trump had his now-famous phone call with Ukraine’s president.

The revelation undercuts a major GOP argument and signals that Ukrainian officials may have been aware of the withheld security aid long before was previously known. Republicans have argued, how could Trump pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to conduct investigations in exchange for aid, if Zelensky didn’t even know the aid was being held up? Republicans have tried to say Ukrainians didn’t know about the hold until a late August article in Politico made the move public. 

Specifically, Cooper, who serves deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russian and Ukrainian affairs, told lawmakers that one of her staffers received an email on July 25 from a Ukrainian embassy contact asking “what was going on with Ukraine security assistance.” 

In her testimony, Cooper also revealed emails between her staff and individuals at the State Department from July 25, concerning the Ukrainian embassy asking questions about the status of the security assistance. Cooper said she learned about the emails after she testified behind closed doors earlier this month.

Under subsequent questioning, Cooper confirmed to Rep. Jim Himes (D-Ct.) that the Pentagon had determined the Ukrainian government met requirements under the law and made significant strides in combatting corruption in May, two months before Trump’s call with Ukraine, suggesting there was no legitimate reason for aid to be withheld. “So this wasn’t about corruption. The timeline proves it,” Himes said.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate