Laura Cooper, a top Defense Department official has arrived at the Capitol Wednesday to provide closed-door testimony related to President Trump’s contacts with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the latest witness deposition as House Democrats charge forward with the impeachment inquiry.
Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, did not answer questions from reporters as she entered the hearing room where both current and former officials have testified in recent weeks about alleged efforts by Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to press Ukraine to launch investigations into both interference in the 2016 presidential election and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Her testimony comes a day after William Taylor offered what Democrats described as some of the most damaging testimony yet — in which the top diplomatic official to Ukraine linked the administration’s decision to withhold roughly $400 million in aid to demands for politically motivated probes.
Republicans have sought to downplay Taylor’s testimony, saying he relayed mostly second-hand information as it related to an alleged quid pro quo.
Democrats are hoping Cooper can shed light on any role the Pentagon played in withholding aid to Ukraine.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said witnesses like Cooper are helpful for building a deeper understanding of how things work behind the scenes with the administration’s Ukraine policy.
“As a prosecutor, what we would do is we would sort of interview as many witnesses as we can before we ask major players for interviews,” Lieu said. “That’s generally what you would do in an investigation.”