The House impeachment inquiry has begun to take on some speed. Lifelong civil servant Ambassador Bill Taylor testified for nearly 10 hours. Yesterday, a top Pentagon Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia career official testified about the crimes committed against Ukraine.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper is an expert on these three troubled areas. She addressed the burning question of whether Donald Trump did, indeed, halt all the desperately-needed military aid to Ukraine as a threat, according to CNN.
Shortly after she began testifying, representative and Trump lackey Matt Gaetz (R-FL) burst into the secret electronically-sensitive room (SCIF) located floors beneath the House of Representatives. She walked out. Five hours later the rowdy group left, and she resumed her testimony.
Cooper testified that she knew about the “quid pro quo,” a favor expected in return for something, that Trump expected from the new Ukrainian president:
‘[S]he was made aware of a quid pro quo between the security assistance and a commitment from Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. [The Pentagon] made it clear to the White House that by withholding funds without congressional authorization, it was at risk of violating the law.’
The president was trying to pressure Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing on television that he was investigating former vice president Joe Biden’s son.
Hunter Biden sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was in office. He and his father have already been investigated and cleared. Trump wanted Zelensky to announce yet another investigation, so that the president could use it in his political campaign for 2020.
The Defense Department told Congress that it would not let any of its people testify even with a subpoena. Nor would it provide any documents related to the military aid to Ukraine. Cooper defied her boss and complied with the subpoena today.
The assistant secretary of defense brought her personal attorney with her. Cooper oversees American policy toward Ukraine, and as such, she would have known that Donald Trump froze the $390,000 military aid package to Ukraine. The Department of Defense (DOD) warned against halting the funds, but it was ignored.
Cooper has been an outspoken advocate for America supporting Ukraine as it battled against the Russian invasion on their shared eastern border. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea and annexed it. His goal has been to reunite Russia with all the countries it held under the Soviet Union umbrella.
‘[G]oing forward, the US intends to continue providing security assistance support to Ukraine across all domains, including maritime, by providing equipment to support its most critical operational needs.’
In early October, the Pentagon’s chief legal officer directed the Defense Department to label, collect, and protect all documentation related to that military aid.
Taylor testified to the Democratically-led inquiry that he had been directly notified that POTUS was holding back the military aid to Zelensky, according to his opening statement. Also, the aid would not be released until Ukraine’s president made a public declaration that Trump could use against his presumed Democratic opponent, Biden.
Cooper visited Ukraine right after the Russians seized Ukrainian ships and sailors in the Kerch Strait. She said the deal that the U.S. government had made with the Ukraine government meant that America would provide continued military support. Ukraine has complied with the U.S.’s requested corruption reforms:
‘I want to be clear that the United States will remain committed to building the capacity of Ukraine’s military, to include its naval forces.’
Ms. Cooper began her career with the Department of Defense (DOD) in 2001. According to the DOD:
‘Laura Cooper is a career member of the Senior Executive Service. She has responsibility for policy concerning Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, and Moldova), and Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) as well as Conventional Arms Control.’
She also worked in global security affairs and homeland counterterrorism:
‘Ms. Cooper previously served as a Principal Director in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Affairs, with responsibility for policies on: mission assurance, defense continuity of operations, critical infrastructure protection, homeland counterterrorism, global antiterrorism policy, and the Council of Governors.’
Before 2001 when she joined the DOD:
‘Ms. Cooper was a policy planning officer at the State Department in the Office of Coordinator for Counterterrorism. She has also served as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.’
‘Ms. Cooper has a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University [and] a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy degree from the Industrial College of Armed Forces at National Defense University.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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