Laura Cooper, the top Department of Defense official dealing with Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, amended her earlier testimony from October in a public hearing at the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday evening.
Cooper told the committee that in reviewing her previous testimony with her staff, she was told of several instances in which Ukrainian officials had asked about the status of aid that had been upheld.
She said that while the only time a Ukrainian official had raised the issue with her personally had been on Sep. 5 — after the publication of the Politico article that most witnesses pinpointed as the moment Ukraine became aware — her staff had received two unclassified emails from the State Department. One arrived on July 25 stating that the Ukrainian embassy and the House Foreign Affairs Committee “asking about security assistance.” The other arrived the same day, saying that Capitol Hill and the Ukrainian embassy both knew about the hold “to an extent.” Cooper said that she did not receive the emails, her staff did not tell her about them, and she knew nothing about them.
She added that on July 3, her staff received an email from the State Department about a block on the aid, and then on July 25 a staff member received an email from the Ukrainian embassy asking “what was going on” with the aid.
Cooper said she did not know what the Ukrainians knew about the situation, but that she and her staff were aware that Ukrainians might raise concerns in August, but it was never addressed openly and they could not remember a date when the question of the hold had been raised.
Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) noted the fact that July 25 was also the date of the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Later, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, testifying alongside Cooper, told Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) that he was not aware of any link between the aid and investigations requested by the president.
Update: Later, under questioning from Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), Cooper admitted that the emails were “not necessarily” about the hold on aid. She answered, “I cannot say for certain” that the Ukrainians knew about the hold.
Ratcliffe raised the point because of media headlines claiming Ukrainians knew about a “hold” as early as July.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.