The transcript of the testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper reveals that Trump ordered Mick Mulvaney to freeze Ukraine aid.
A: So the issue started to clarify a little bit on the 23rd at that—at that PCC [Policy Coordination Committee] meeting. There in that meeting I recall I was advocating for the release of the FMF, because I still wasn’t sure if our funds were actually at risk. But there again the OMB representative, again I do not— this particular meeting I’m not sure who it was. I believe I was participating via SVTC [Secure Video Teleconference], but I’m not quite sure. But in that meeting again there was just this issue of the White House chief of staff has conveyed that the President has concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance.
That was how it was conveyed in the meeting on the 23rd. So I walked away from the meeting on the 23rd thinking okay, we know that this is, you know, a larger issue. But I still didn’t have any specific direction with respect to USAI. That came after that meeting, the official direction from OMB to the DOD comptroller who then informed me was—I’m pretty sure it was on the 25th of July that we got the apportionment notice for USAI. And then the very next day, the 26th was the meeting that I was the backbencher for with the deputies’ level.
And there it was to me anyway in my experience it was the first time it was stated very clearly what—that yes, it is FMF and AUSI [sic] are both affected by this hold and that it relates to the President’s concerns about corruption. And that is what in that meeting Mike Duffey from OMB said,
Q: And the President is authorized to have these types of holds placed. Correct?
A: Well, I’m not an expert on the law, but in that meeting immediately deputies began to raise concerns about how this could be done in a legal fashion because there was broad understanding in the meeting that the funding—the State Department funding related to an earmark for Ukraine and that the DOD funding was specific to Ukraine security assistance. So the comments in the room at the deputies’ level reflected a sense that there was not an understanding of how this could legally play out. And at that meeting the deputies agreed to look into the legalities and to look at what was possible.
The reason why Mick Mulvaney is trying to avoid testifying on impeachment is that Trump ordered Mulvaney directly to freeze military aid to Ukraine.
Cooper’s testimony destroys the Trump talking point that the aid was not frozen.
The aid was frozen, and it was originally only going to be released if Ukraine put out a public statement and investigated Joe Biden. The Ukrainians came very close to complying with Trump’s demand, but the congressional uproar over the frozen military aid saved Zelensky.
Trump directed the Ukraine military aid freeze, and one of his biggest impeachment defenses has gone up in flames.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association