Laura Cooper's opening statement in impeachment hearing blows up Ukraine timeline

Laura Cooper's opening statement in impeachment hearing blows up Ukraine timeline
C-SPAN screenshot

In her opening statement deputy assistant defense secretary Laura Cooper announced that, following her earlier testimony, her staff had located two emails indicating that not just officials in the United States, but officials at the Ukrainian Embassy, expressed concern about the military assistance hold on July 25. That’s the same day that Donald Trump placed his call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Meaning that Zelensky could very well have been fully aware that Trump had placed a hold on that assistance at the time of the call.

Though testimony in much of the inquiry, including in the hearing with Gordon Sondland on Wednesday morning, there was a pretense that Ukrainians were unaware of the hold on assistance until it became public knowledge at the end of August. Previous witnesses had indicated that the Ukrainians were actually aware of the hold weeks earlier, but were reluctant to raise the issue in diplomatic channels because Ukraine did not want to reveal anything of its intelligence sources in the United States.

But Cooper is the first to indicate that the Ukrainians were already aware of the hold at the time Trump talked with Zelensky. That means that when Trump was asking for investigations into Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, he was not only doing so while withholding defense funding from Ukraine, they knew it.

Cooper’s testimony, and that of other witnesses, completely takes the “Ukraine didn’t even know” claim off the table.

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