Updated Nov 21, 2019

Pentagon official testifies Ukraine inquired about military aid on July 25

Defense Department official Laura Cooper testified in an impeachment hearing Wednesday that members of her staff recently brought her two unclassified State Department emails revealing that the Ukrainian Embassy had asked about U.S. military aid — which had by then been suspended — on July 25.

Why it matters: July 25 is the same day of President Trump's infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, though the emails from the State Department came after the morning call. Cooper's testimony suggests the Ukrainians knew there was "some kind of issue" with the security assistance by July, and that they were aware the aid had been suspended by August.

  • The surprise revelation could potentially undermine a key Republican defense that Zelensky could not have felt pressure from Trump to carry out investigations into his political rivals because the Ukrainian president was not aware of the frozen aid.

Go deeper: Live updates from the hearing

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Highlights from Laura Cooper's and David Hale's impeachment testimonies

Photo: Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

Defense Department official Laura Cooper and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale testified Wednesday in the second impeachment hearing of the day.

Driving the news: Cooper testified that, after the transcript of her closed-door deposition was released on Nov. 11, members of her staff brought her two unclassified emails from the State Department revealing that the Ukrainian Embassy was inquiring about the military aid on July 25 — the same day as Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 21, 2019

Read Laura Cooper's opening statement in the impeachment hearing

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Defense Department official Laura Cooper is testifying Wednesday in the second impeachment hearing of the day.

The big picture: In her opening statement, Cooper testified that she became aware President Trump had ordered a hold on security assistance to Ukraine in July due to his concerns about corruption. She stated that she advocated for a meeting with the president to explain why the aid should go forward, and that she was never offered a reason for why the hold was lifted.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

Former deputy foreign minister says Ukraine knew of aid freeze in July

Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal on Nov. 12. Photo: Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ukraine's former deputy foreign minister Olena Zerkal told the New York Times in an interview that Ukraine's government was aware of the Trump administration's decision to freeze military aid in July.

Why it matters: Zerkal’s account is the first acknowledgment from a Ukrainian official that the government knew Trump was withholding security assistance as early as July, supporting a similar revelation from Pentagon official Laura Cooper's public testimony last month.

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019