[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Laura Cooper’s Forgotten Deposition

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

Performance art by a couple dozen GOP House members garnered a lot of media attention last week. Their noisy assault on a House sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) during a deposition obstructed a House investigation and compromised the security of the SCIF in an attempt to cast doubt upon the House impeachment inquiry process.

Sophomore (sophomorish-?) GOP representative Matt Gaetz stood out as both a leader of the flash mob; this was his second attempt to crash a meeting though this latest one didn’t do as much for his image.

The stunt and the GOP’s whiny little pizza party and follow-up presser drew a lot of media attention with reactions running the gamut. It was pure hypocrisy for the GOP mob to claim the deposition was an attempt to prevent the public from seeing what was going on, since the committee in attendance included both Democrats and Republicans and operated to rules written and implemented by a Republican majority in 2015

But lost in all the hullaballoo was the deposition itself. This may be exactly what the House GOP intended with their performance – not just to derail the deposition, but to prevent the public from actually knowing anything about Laura Cooper’s testimony.

Projection, as always – when the GOP’s crashers said it was about a meeting Democrats were trying to keep secret, it was about secrets the GOP wants kept.

Which should make us wonder what it was that Laura Cooper had to say that was so worrying to both Trump and the GOP that they staged this intervention.

They didn’t intervene in diplomat Bill Taylor’s deposition, after all. We knew it was going to be rough for Trump because we’d already seen some of Taylor’s texts from his side, casting Gordon Sondland and the administration in a bad light.

But the last time Gaetz pulled this stunt, trying to barge into an investigative session closed to all but House Intelligence Committee members, the subject being interviewed was Fiona Hill.

Hill was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs on the National Security Council; she announced on/around June 18 this year that she planned to leave her role at the end of August. She received a subpoena to appear on/around October 10 and appeared last Monday October 14 in a closed-door session for ten hours before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees.

The House parliamentarian ruled Gaetz was not eligible to attend this session; he’s not a member of these three committees. There were other Republican members of these committees in attendance though we don’t know exactly who or how many because the roll call has not been publicized.

The attempt to crash looked like interference at the time. Perhaps Gaetz intended worse, but the deposition went on.

This past week’s deposition of Laura Cooper was much shorter than Hill’s, at only three hours’ duration. It’s not clear whether Cooper’s testimony was not as broad as Hill’s given Hill’s background and role in the administration. It’s possible Cooper’s deposition was interrupted by the GOP flash mob.

This looks not only like an attempt to interfere with the conduct of the House inquiry and obstruct testimony, but witness intimidation and tampering.

Two patterns may be emerging though with only these two depositions be-bothered by GOP stunts it’s not enough data to cinch this.

First, both of these witnesses were women. GOP reps didn’t try to interfere with depositions or hearings of male witnesses like U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Bill Taylor.

Did they pick these two witnesses to intimidate because they were women?

A third woman witness had been harassed but long before she became a witness for the House inquiry; former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch had been through a character assassination by right-wing horde leading up to her recall from her post in Ukraine this past May, before the key Trump-Zelensky phone call on July 25.

Second, both Hill and Cooper were not anticipated as witnesses when the whistleblower complaint became public knowledge. Diplomats and White House personnel who were involved directly in the call were expected as likely witnesses. What was it that emerged during the earliest testimony which compelled the House committees to call Hill and Cooper?

Did Hill’s departure from her role as special adviser trigger questions?

What exactly did Office of Management and Budget tell the Defense Department and when which would have made Cooper a needed witness?

What was it about Cooper’s anticipated testimony which required such a big dog-and-pony show to suck up media attention to propel the GOP’s misdirection while cutting into time alloted for Cooper’s deposition?

Cooper in particular received a letter from the DOD informing Cooper and her counsel that she as Executive Branch personnel couldn’t “participate in [the impeachment] inquiry under these circumstances” according to an administration-wide direction. There were attachments to bolster claims made in the letter with regard to the House Committees’ refusal to allow White House counsel to attend the depositions and the legitimacy of the inquiry. The letter emerged after Reuters reported on October 17 that Cooper wouldn’t testify and before her deposition.

The letter, which looks a bit odd, wasn’t from the Acting Secretary of Defense or the Office of General Counsel for DOD. Instead it was printed on letterhead from the Deputy Secretary of Defense and signed by David L. Norquist, the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Why note this?

1) Because the letter wasn’t dated. It has a date stamp on it – 22 OCT 2019 – but not a date typed on the letter at the time it was printed. The stamp appears to be a Received By date but it may also be the date the letter was sent; it’s not clear who or what government entity may have stamped it, whether the Pentagon, Cooper’s attorney, or the House committee which received it though it’s likely not the committee. Note also that October 22 is the date Taylor testified before the House.

2) Because the signature on the letter is almost illegible; “David L.” is legible but the last name isn’t, save for the letter T at the end. There is no name, title, department beneath the signature. Compare this letter to the first attachment, a letter from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, signed by Robert R. Hood. You’ll see there is a name, title, department beneath his signature.

3) Because there’s no subject line, though not all government-issued letters may have them, and

4) There’s no list of attachments, except in the body of the letter, and they’re referred to as Tab A, B, etc. instead of by document title or by a URL if published and available to the public.

Why are these points important? Because someone seeking this particular communication by FOIA wouldn’t be able to find it by date or by Norquist’s name, title, or department, or by the attachments.

If someone was looking for a letter from DOD’s general counsel telling Cooper not to respond to the House committees’ subpoena, they wouldn’t find it. Ditto if they were looking for a letter from the Acting Defense Secretary. Nor would they find it by date written.

Note also, though it’s probably just a coincidence: David L. Norquist is Grover Norquist’s younger brother. Can’t pick your family.

But you can choose whether to include a date, name, title, department on a letter.

~ ~ ~

The New York Times reported last evening that the National Security Council’s authority on Ukraine, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, will testify today before the House impeachment investigation that he objected not once but twice to the context of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Colonel Vindman said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”

Vindman was present during the phone call and remains an active member of White House staff. It’s not just Vindman’s role, though, which shakes up Trump’s supporters. His credentials will be difficult to push back against — Harvard-educated Purple Heart recipient, and a still-active member of the military, who immigrated to the U.S. as a toddler when his parents fled the former Soviet Union. The right-wing horde is already scrambling to discredit Vindman, going so far as to accuse him of being a double agent and a “hostile witness” in a “kangaroo court.”

In his written statement to the House, Vindman said objected to Sondland’s statements during a post-call debriefing session; he was the third person to do so apart from the as-yet unnamed whistleblower.

Fiona Hill, President Donald Trump’s former top Russia adviser, raised concerns about Rudy Giuliani’s role in US foreign policy toward Ukraine, telling lawmakers on Monday that she saw “wrongdoing” in the American foreign policy and tried to report it to officials including the National Security Council’s attorney, according to multiple sources.

“She saw wrongdoing related to the Ukraine policy and reported it,” one source said. …(CNN, 14-OCT-2019)

With Vindman and both Hill and Bolton sharing their objections with NSC’s top legal adviser, John A. Eisenberg has heard from the most senior and most authoritative persons on U.S. policy on Ukraine. Eisenberg’s role was already in question.

It was Eisenberg to whom several alarmed White House officials turned when Trump urged Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. It was Eisenberg who then helped order the record of that call into a system used for ultra-secret classified information. And it was Eisenberg who, several reports said, consulted with political appointees at the Justice Department on how to handle a whistleblower’s complaint about the Ukraine call. (Politico, 26-OCT-2019)

Has Eisenberg also coached others on handling of correspondence related to the quid pro quo investigation, like Norquist’s letter to Cooper? Note that Norquist isn’t an attorney.

We know now that Vindman’s testimony corroborates both Hill’s and Taylor’s, and that Gordon Sondland is exposed to at least one charge of making a false statement.

It’s this corroboration with Vindman’s testimony that Matt Gaetz tried to obstruct with his first attempt at barging into Fiona Hill’s deposition.

Was it also corroboration with Vindman’s testimony that Gaetz and his flock of GOP co-conspirators tried to obstruct with their barging into the House SCIF during Laura Cooper’s testimony last week?

Among the Republicans participating in the protest was Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican. Gaetz and Scalise both suggested they might return at some point to protest further, though they did not do so Wednesday.
The storm-the-room stunt came two days after Trump said that he thought Republicans “have to get tougher and fight.” Many of the Republicans engaged in the protest were at a White House on Tuesday meeting with Trump, and a person familiar with the matter told CNN that Trump had advance knowledge of the plans to enter the space. (CNN, 23-OCT-2019emphasis mine)

Or is there something worse yet ahead which syncs with Cooper’s testimony, something serious enough to warrant Trump conspiring with Gaetz and House GOP members to deter comparison?

Is this why Former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman refused to comply with a House subpoena, filing suit instead with the D.C. district court to determine if he is required to testify? Is this suit a stunt of a more subtle nature, intended to head off the next obstructive parade of House GOP members before John Bolton is subpoenaed?

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41 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    While the rabid, lick-spittle, right-wing monkey horde continues its character assassination of a decorated military hero, the chickenshit right-wing indulges its stupidity.


    I’d call this a dumb blonde move on Fleischer’s part but he doesn’t have the qualifications for blondeness. This kind of reflexive idiocy isn’t going to cover your big bald complicity, Ari.

    • Vinnie Gambone says:

      Hilarious. Your monkey jibe sent me googlooking for a clip of the wizard of Oz flying monkeys, and lo and behold- there’s actually a mental phenomenon psychologist recognize that they try to fortify their patients to fight against . Flying monkeys are agents of a narcissist, agents too weak to think for themselves but ready and able to besoil the scene with their monkey droppings. Who knew the GOP would become the new lunatic fringe? The shrink link below describes GOP crashers mental state quite well. ( anyone else notice at least four of them wore the same blue suit?)

      • Rayne says:

        I’ve always thought of the swarming effect of the right-wing media ecosphere as something straight out of The Wizard of Oz. They deliberately constructed — and continue to construct — an infrastructure to promote a particular ideology and subordinate thought to an authoritarian audience which struggles to think for itself. It’s built to disperse and dispatch, push only, one direction.

        Nice find on the video though it’s not very dramatic. :-)

  2. joel fisher says:

    It’s hard to disagree with Rayne, but I think it’s just what it looks like: GOP scum throwing chum to their moron mob of droolers, not some subtle ploy. I do agree that there’s a sexist piece of this; women, they think, are much more fun to abuse than men. In my nightmares, I believe GOP focus group testing among the Trump base reveals they–both male and female droolers– get more excited when they see a woman being victimized. I also agree with the “how do we dodge the foia request?” point.

    [FYI, I deleted your previous duplicate comment. :-) /~Rayne]

  3. P J Evans says:

    I think you have something here, Rayne. But I don’t think that anything will happen to Gaetz and his band of losing congresscritters.
    (I’m seeing reports that one of Nunes’s staffers has been passing the whistleblower’s identity to all the Rs on the committees. That should also merit notice and punishment.)

  4. John Paul Jones says:

    Making stuff impossible to find via standard FOIA requests: would that be a violation of policy? (I would assume so, but don’t know if it is an actual violation of a law mandating how records are kept.) If it is a violation, does that make it a punishable offense for a government employee? If it is an offense, is one who counsels such conduct equally guilty of an offense?

    Just asking because I simply don’t know the answers, and (based on the high quality of comments in previous threads) assume that some members will have the answer.

    • P J Evans says:

      All that missing stuff that’s normally present makes me wonder who actually wrote this. It’s certainly not the work of someone who does it often; they’d be putting in topic and enclosure information fairly automatically.

      • Raven Eye says:

        As per my comment below, the date is properly applied, subject and attention lines are not used, and neither is the signature block…for a DepSec or DepSecDef PERSONAL letter.

        The stamped date is common because a letter may spend some time going through the OSD chop chain. One of those stops is typically OGC (or JAG or OGC in the Services), but I’m not sure, off the top of my head, if an OGC chop is required for a personal letter.

        So why did Norquist use a personal letter to communicate an official/legal message?

    • BobCon says:

      Leaving the date or name off probably doesn’t hide it from a departmental FOIA officer. Searches usually include file date rather than just printed date, for example.

      I suspect it may have more to do with limiting search engine hits on the assumption that the letter goes public, in particular by Daniel L. Norquist not wanting his name associated with Ukraine, HPSCI and Laura Cooper.

      • Rayne says:

        What’s the file date on this document? We can’t see it, can’t rule out original document date or final version date weren’t modified. Nor can we be certain where this document’s digital version was stored.

        And until Norquist is asked about this letter along with whomever else handles DOD’s records retention, limiting search engine hits is a SWAG.

  5. BobCon says:

    I’m inclined to believe that the timing of the secure facility campout was probably a result of logistics more than anything else. Monday the House was basically not in session, and Thursday and Friday it was essentially closed for Elijah Cummings remembrances. Oftentimes members without committee business fly in on Tuesday mornings, meaning Wednesday was probably the day most convenient for the goofs.

    I don’t think they understand the substance even if they wanted to, and it probably would have confused their messaging. That’s not to say there couldn’t have been something more substantial on their minds, or the mind of a particular instigator, but I suspect that’s not the primary motivation for which session they disrupted.

    • Rayne says:

      Sure. Ri-ight. That explains why Gaetz and his buddies met with Trump before they swarmed the SCIF. They just wanted to make sure they met on the next business day.

      ~eye roll~

      • BobCon says:

        I don’t think either Trump or the Meadows-King band understand the substance in any meaningful way. I think coordination with Trump had to do with PR and chest thumping, and the likelihood it was Cooper’s testimony in particular they were worried about seems low to me.

        That’s not to say Cooper had nothing damaging to say — I think they all do, even the ones like Sondland. But I also think if Cooper had been switched with someone else for that Wednesday, they still would have gone ahead.

        I really don’t think they have even a cursory defense on substantive grounds. I think they’re struggling to even put together soundbites to make it seem like they have one.

        • timbo says:

          Meh. They picked the least connected, seemingly most vulnerable, least likely witness to come after them later basically. Bullying cowardice pretty much.

    • fikshun says:

      Agreed. I read that they had planned to do their little performance art the week before, but that Elijah Cummings’s passing threw off their schedule. If there was any purpose for the timing, I think it had more to do with wanting to stop some of the momentum caused by Bill Taylor’s damaging testimony the day before.

      • P J Evans says:

        Cummings’s funeral was after that stunt, so that seems unlikely. (He died Thursday before last, the 17th, so it seems unlikely that his death caused them to reschedule.).

  6. Pete T says:

    I agree with the thought that the Rs “picking on women” is a thing. I look forward to the hoped for backlash as they “pick” on Lt. Col Vindman. How to fix the more egregious behavior versus women is hard, but could certainly start with MANY MORE women in elected House/Senate seats. Oh, and POTUS too.

    In the meantime, I the attack on Lt. Col. Vindman backdrafts on the Rs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZkcOjaIhSk

  7. paul says:

    I’d go a little further on the letter format:

    the data and the typed signature and the attachments are typically part of a template that is set when someone starts working in a particular office. So this was likely either done elsewhere or done by someone who was not clerical staff. Why you would want to circumvent staff in writing something like this is left as an exercise.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “paul”, “Paul,” or a variant. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  8. Katherine M Williams says:

    “His credentials will be difficult to push back against — Harvard-educated Purple Heart recipient, and a still-active member of the military…”

    Remember the purple bandaids at the repug presidential convention in 2004? Remember the accusations of cowardice against Kerry, amplified and repeated ad nauseam till even democrats kind-of believed them? Why won’t that work again with Vindman?

    • Rayne says:

      Vindman hasn’t expressed any ambivalence about his military experience, unlike Kerry who you’ll recall expressed concerns about the conduct of the Vietnam War before he was a senator. Kerry’s position on Vietnam gave conservatives enough to develop a character assassination operation with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Vindman also isn’t working against a 9/11 tailwind the way Kerry’s 2004 campaign did. Those purple bandaids in 2004 were the culmination of years of anti-Kerry propaganda. Vindman isn’t and hasn’t run for office; he’s also active duty. With Trump doing so poorly with veterans, it’s not going to help Trump’s approval rating if he’s attached to attacks on Vindman in any way.

      I mean, the Nats’ game the other night said it all — cheers in tribute to veterans, followed by booing for Trump.

  9. Chaparral says:

    “Contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” Yovanovitch said.

    Classic understatement. Not surprising, considering her superb diplomatic inclinations. From the best explanation of the Yovonovitch removal so far –

    Other Ukranians who dealt with the ambassador recall her as a professional who worked hard to represent U.S. policy. Journalist Nataliya Gumenyuk says Yovanovitch “was a good diplomat, but very, very reserved.”

    “She was extremely cautious,” Gumenyuk says. “She would never say anything beyond what the diplomat can say.”

    https://www.npr.org/2019/10/11/768662050/how-former-ambassador-marie-yovanovitch-became-a-target-in-ukraine

    The ambassador’s removal was part of a long planned scheme to enable Ukrianian corruption. Remember, there was the spring ’18 meet in Houston where the three stooges unveiled the plan to remove Yovonovitch and replace the Naftogaz executive management.

    Everybody wants to focus on the hum and whir of machinations inside the administration. But this is really a story about how outside foreign forces had insider influence in American government administration. Remember, ‘the call’ had been repeatedly asked for by Rick Perry to discuss gas contracts. It got hijacked by partisan conspiracy theories.

    Given the general paranoia and fast food turnover of the current adminstration, it would not be difficult to replace any ambassador. Spread a few rumors of ‘disloyalty’ to the Great One and – viola, new ambassador. Unfortunately they didn’t plan for succession. The Ukrainian mafia may gotten more than they bargained for with William Taylor.

    The second piece of the puzzle is directing American intervention in the ongoing restrucring the national gas compmany Naftogaz. I’m looking forward to finding out who told Rick Perry to replace the Naftogaz board.

    As the consummate diplomat, Yovonovitch’s abrupt removal has incensed the diplomatic community. Much like the Durham investigation has galvanized the intelligence community, diplomats in the State Department are are stiffening in their resistance. As Rayne suggests, it is women who are the first to have the courage of convictions.

    “There is hope, however, that Yovanovitch’s decision to appear before Congress may have altered the political calculus for other diplomats grappling with their responsibilities as civil servants. “She didn’t get struck down by a thunderbolt. She was told she wasn’t allowed to testify, she went anyway, and here she is, a hero,” the former ambassador said. “I hope that it will just encourage more people to do the right thing.”

    Already, Yovanovitch appears to have inspired others to step forward. Fiona Hill, the former White House adviser on Russia, appeared behind closed doors on Monday for nearly 10 hours, just days after the former ambassador to Ukraine. “That is the thing that feels like an inflection point, that somebody has got the guts to say what they know,” this person added. “And I don’t think that it is lost on a lot of people that it is women who have the guts.”

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/10/defiance-inside-the-state-department-after-yovanovitch-stands-up-to-trump

    I still want to know when the mobster that set this all in motion, Dmytro Firtash, is going to show up on US soil so we can give him a little enhanced interrogation.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-whistleblower-firtash/indicted-giuliani-associate-worked-on-behalf-of-ukrainian-oligarch-firtash-idUSKBN1WQ2H5

  10. Raven Eye says:

    The formatting is correct for a personal letter from SecDef or DepSecDef, but the letter attached appears to address an official or policy-related matter.

    Per DoDM 5110.04-M-V1, October 26, 2010:

    (Page 70)
    5. PREPARING PERSONAL LETTERS. Use the personal letter for SecDef and DepSecDef communications that require a personal touch (thanks, congratulations, condolences, acknowledgments, etc.). A personal letter is not used for official and policy-related matters. To prepare a personal letter, use the guidelines for preparing an official letter in section 2 of this enclosure, with these exceptions:

    b. Subject and Attention Lines. Do not use on personal letters.
    c. Date. Omit the date. CMD will stamp the date on the second line below the letterhead, ending at the right margin, on the day the letter is signed and dispatched.

    (Page 73)
    f. Signature Block. A typed signature block is not used on personal letters for SecDef and DepSecDef signature.

  11. Vicks says:

    Logistically, the aid was stuck between the Pentagon which said all criteria had been met by Ukraine to receive the aid (including making progress on anti-corruption efforts) and the Trump lackey(s) at OMB acting like human shields
    Would Ms Cooper’s position have her witnessing any monkey business that team Trump should be worried about?

  12. Jenny says:

    Thank you Rayne. You are onto something about the GOP flash mob (good description). They are desperate trying to hold onto power. The “my way or the highway” macho mob. Old order crumbling, looking to attack and fight.

    Fearful bullies pouncing LTC Vindman, a refugee from Ukraine, decorated soldier, serving his country with an authentic security clearance, speaks the native language and is a specialist in his field with experience and knowledge.

    Of course the GOP want to cut him down and demean him because whistle blowers/career employees in the government are revealing truths of the politicians/political appointees deeds.

    Information being revealed. All about exposure, exposure and more exposure.

    As for Matt Gaetz, revealing quotes:
    “When Donald Trump calls you, it’s like you have a little Trump rally in your ear.”
    “The most valuable real estate in the world lies between the president’s ears.”
    “President Trump is not an isolationist and builds closer friendships when he can.”
    “No reasonable American believes that someone can investigate their own boss.”

    • skua says:

      “No reasonable American believes that someone can investigate their own boss.” M.G.

      Fortunately the American system has branches that are authorized and able to investgate “the boss” of the Executive branch.
      At least that is what the Constitution says.
      Maybe Mr Gaetz knows and upholds the Constitution?
      Or maybe he don’t.

      • timbo says:

        Screw that! I’ve fired my own boss before. True story.

        And how many of us have had bosses that have obviously been doing illegal crap, been on the take, etc, etc? Is there anyone here who hasn’t had at least one boss who played petty games, lied, etc, etc to cover themselves and deflect from their own ethical failings? I hope there’s a few people who have never had to deal with those sorts of bosses… but for most of us, there’s been at least one or more doozies.

  13. Vinnie Gambone says:

    This site and it’s community continues daily to add lines to the blueprint of wtf is going on in these dangerous times. Thank You all so much!

    One poster recently summed up the crime so well, and succinctly. “The president’s job is to execute the laws passed by congress.” Congress passed the aid. Numbnuts held it up. The aid was in the the chute. Holding up the aid was an abuse of the president’s power. That in and of itself is wrong. It’s worse choking the aid off for dirt to use against a rival at home. The wicked witch of the west and his flying monkeys. Oh please Photo shop gods, put that image on paper.

    It’s like Trump told Ivanka I’m not paying you child support until you contrive some cokimamie story proving what everybody but me has known all along, that Melania is sexting with Putin everytime I watch fox news. That is what they are down to. Contriving stories. Barr prides himself on it.

  14. Mitch Neher says:

    Thanks Rayne. I owe you. Below is a look at what I was speculating about.

    Ms. Cooper was involved in certifying the implementation of anti-corruption reforms in the disbursement of US military aid to The Ukraine. On that basis, I surmise that Ms. Cooper’s testimony may have refuted the argument advanced by (What’s-His-Name) Radcliffe that the Ukrainians supposedly didn’t know that (nor why) the US military aid was being withheld. Of course, Radcliffe’s argument is a non-sequitur, anyhow.

    Sep 29, 2019 …

    https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2019/09/29/trump-claim-on-stalled-aid-for-ukraine-draws-new-scrutiny/

    • Mitch Neher says:

      Sorry for the second thought, but Ms. Cooper’s testimony may have gone more directly to the question of illegal impoundment of the military aid to The Ukraine.

    • Vicks says:

      I can’t find anything that states Laura Cooper was directly involved in the certification process?
      A few weeks ago I found the letter (online) from the Pentagon stating that Ukraine was in compliance and the aid should be released but now I can’t locate it.
      I thought it was a link provided by Military Times.
      Now that I know more about the people involved I’d like to see it again.
      Does anyone else recall the letter being posted online?

      • timbo says:

        I think there was an article in the Military Times about how the President’s call to Ukraine wasn’t good. That may have been right around the time the White House released the July 25th transcript…

      • Mitch Neher says:

        Ms. Cooper’s connection to Mr. Rood is the closest report I can find describing her role in the certification process. The blurb under the link alludes to it. Someday I’ll learn how to use a computer.

        https://www.courthousenews.com/house-eyes-ukraine-policy-insights-from-pentagon-official/

        Oct 23, 2019 … The Republicans don’t want this testimony to go on. … Laura Cooper, while perhaps not central to Trump’s dealings with Ukrainian President … Rood issued a letter to lawmakers in May certifying that Ukraine had rightfully earned a … Typically, after a certification letter is issued and the Pentagon authorizes …

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Excerpted from the article linked above from Courthouse News:

          A Defense Department employee since 2001, Cooper reportedly worked closely with John Rood, undersecretary of defense policy at the Pentagon. Rood issued a letter to lawmakers in May certifying that Ukraine had rightfully earned a $250 million military-aid package after taking “substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption, increasing accountability and sustaining improvements of combat capability enabled by U.S. assistance.”

          Typically, after a certification letter is issued and the Pentagon authorizes funding, the next step is congressional appropriation. After that, the Office of Management and Budget must grant approval for disbursement.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for that, extremely valuable. And now we can surmise more fully why Trump nominated Ratcliffe for NSA — in that role he could squelch ALL implementation of anti-corruption efforts.

  15. Tom says:

    The incident last week where Matt Gaetz and his fellow GOPers barged into the SCIF and then ordered take-out pizza should be remembered as “Pizza-Gaetz”.

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