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House Democrats on Monday released the impeachment inquiry transcript of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, who testified that President Donald Trump subverted legal protocol this summer when he froze a $400 military aid package to Ukraine without informing Congress.
Cooper, who appeared before congressional investigators on October 23, is responsible for shoring up the U.S. relationship with Ukraine amidst Russian aggression. Her role includes helping disburse aid funding to the country.
The Pentagon official testified that her department received guidance to hold the aid in mid-July, 2019. It "was a source of concern," she said, according to the transcript.
At a July 26 meeting, the day following Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Cooper said that "it was stated very clearly" that the interruption of aid was related to Trump's desire for a corruption investigation, and that "deputies began to raise concerns about how this could be done in a legal fashion."
There were "only two legally available options" to freeze the aid, she testified: the Department of Defense needed to complete "a reprogramming action," or Trump needed to submit a rescission notice to Congress. In either case, congressional notification is needed, which "did not occur."
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