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Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, arrives on Capitol Hill before attending a closed-door deposition in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 30. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, told House impeachment investigators President Trump directed the freezing of military aid for Ukraine via the Office of Management and Budget over corruption concerns, a testimony transcript released Monday shows.

Why it matters: The issue of whether Trump withheld aid in an illegal abuse of power is central to the inquiry. Cooper indicated that officials were concerned about the legalities of withholding aid, testifying that at a meeting held the day after Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that "deputies began to raise concerns about how this could be done in a legal fashion."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What she's saying: Cooper testified last month that she knew from a conversation with Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy to Ukraine, and from "alarm bells that were coming from Ambassador [Bill] Taylor and his team that there were Ukrainians who knew" about the aid freeze in August.

  • "The context for the discussion that I had with Ambassador Volker related specifically to the path that he was pursuing to lift the hold would be to get them to make this statement, but the only reason they would do that is because there was, you know, something valuable," she said.
  • Cooper said she attended a July 23 meeting during which President Trump's "concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance," came up, relayed by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

What they're saying: Trump and has Republican allies deny any abuse of power took place over the aid issue or in his request for Zelensky to look into allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden fired a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter Biden.

The big picture: Cooper's testimony last month was delayed by a group of House Republicans, who attempted to force entry into her closed-door hearing protesting a lack of transparency in the impeachment process.

Read the full transcript:

Go deeper:

Go deeper

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.