1. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper take oath
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
"In July, I became aware of a hole being placed on obligation of the State Department's foreign military financing, or F.M.F and DOD's (the US Department of Defense's) USAI funds. In a series of interagency meetings, I heard that the President had directed the Office of Management and Budget to hold the funds because of his concerns about corruption in Ukraine. Let me say at the outset that I have never discussed this or any other matter with the president and never heard directly from him about this matter."
3. Wide of hearing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense:
"The national security community expressed unanimous support for resuming the funding, as in the U.S. national security interest. At the July 26 meeting, there was also a discussion of how Ukrainian anti-corruption efforts were making progress. DOD reiterated what we had said in our earlier certification to Congress, stating that sufficient progress in defense reform, including anti-corruption, had occurred to justify the USAI spending. I and others at the inter-agency meetings felt that the matter was particularly urgent because it takes time to obligate that amount of money and my understanding was that the money was legally required to be obligated by September 30th, the end of the fiscal year."
5. Wide of hearing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
"On the issue of Ukraine's knowledge of the hold of Ukraine, asking questions about possible issues with the flow of assistance, my staff showed me two unclassified emails that they received from the State Department. One was received on July 25th at 2:31 p.m. That e-mail said that the Ukrainian embassy and House Foreign Affairs Committee are asking about security assistance. The second e-mail was received on July 25th at 4:25 p.m. That email said that the Hill (US Congress) knows about the FMF (Ukrainian military assistance) situation to an extent, and so does the Ukrainian embassy. I did not receive either of these emails. My staff does not recall informing me about them and I do not recall being made aware of their content at the time."
Defense Department official Laura Cooper says she became aware in July that a hold was being placed on military aid to Ukraine and it had been directed by President Donald Trump.
Cooper is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia and Ukraine. She is testifying Wednesday before a House committee in the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Cooper says she never spoke to the president about the hold, but she heard the hold was placed because of his concerns over corruption in Ukraine.
She says the funds were critical to supporting Ukraine. She says she was under the impression that the money was legally required to be obligated by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, and she fought to get it done.
Cooper also said that the Ukrainian embassy was asking questions of her staff about a hold on military aid as far back as July 25, the day President Donald Trump asked Ukraine's president to investigate Democrats.
Testifying in an evening impeachment hearing, Laura Cooper told lawmakers her staff has showed her emails she had not yet seen when she testified behind closed doors last month in the impeachment probe looking into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
The embassy's July questions show Ukrainians were aware of a possible hold on the aid earlier than previously known.
Republicans have argued there was no "quid pro quo" — investigations into Democrats for military aid — if Ukrainians weren't aware of a hold on the aid.