The second week of the President’s public impeachment hearings has come to a close, with several key testimonies taking place from figures such as Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Defense, and David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Throughout this process, Trump has insisted on his innocence, claiming that this impeachment inquiry is a hoax and a scam run by Democrats.
Cooper revealed in her testimony that her staff received two emails from the State Department on July 25 asking about U.S. military aid to Ukraine, which was the same day as President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.
The first was received at 2:31 p.m., which said “the Ukrainian embassy and the House Foreign Affairs Committee are asking about security assistance,” Cooper said.
The second email was sent at 4:25 p.m. and said “that the Hill knows about the [frozen military funds] situation to an extent, and so does the Ukrainian embassy.”
Cooper continued to say that her staff told her of the existence of these emails after the transcript of her closed-door deposition became public earlier this month.
“The United States and our allies provide Ukraine with security assistance because it is in our national security interest,” Cooper testified. “We also provide security assistance so that Ukraine can negotiate a peace with Russia from a position of strength.”
Cooper also testified that the Defense Department certified Ukraine as complying with anti-corruption requirements for security assistance in May, which was before Trump froze the aid. She added that she did not know why the hold for the aid was lifted in September.
David Hale took the stand after Laura Cooper.
Hale acknowledged that Marie Yovanovitch was unfairly booted from her post, marking one of the first public defenses from a top-level department employee of the former ambassador to Ukraine.
He continued to testify that the smear campaign against Yovanovitch was “wrong” and that she “should have been able to stay in post and continue to do the outstanding work she was doing.”
After five days of these public impeachment hearings, public opinion of whether President Trump should be impeached appears to be unchanged.
According to a poll done by CNN, half of Americans say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 43% say he should not. Neither of these figures have changed since October.
The President’s approval rating has also held about even since October, with 42% saying they approve and 54% disapprove.
Even though Trump claims that this impeachment inquiry is a hoax, he now faces an important decision: whether to legitimize the proceedings by allowing his lawyers to participate, or refuse to take part in an in an inquiry he says is a sham.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat who will oversee the next phase of the impeachment inquiry that will begin next week, told the White House that it must give a definitive answer on whether it will participate by 5 p.m. on December 6.