Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testified last month that the Trump administration had pushed Ukraine to issue a public statement disavowing any efforts to influence U.S. elections — but Cooper stopped short of saying that officials wanted to include a reference to Joe and Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country, according to a transcript of her closed-door Oct. 23 deposition released Monday by House Democrats as part of their impeachment inquiry.
Previous testimony in the impeachment inquiry has suggested that the White House had improperly pressured Ukraine to publicly implicate the Bidens. Former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, for example, had remarked that European Union envoy Gordon Sondland and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani worked with a top Ukrainian aide to include a reference to the Biden-linked Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings.
But, Cooper said that on Aug. 20, Volker met with her — and the idea of mentioning the Bidens apparently didn’t come up.
“So in that meeting he did mention something to me that, you know, was the first about somehow an effort that he was engaged in to see if there was a statement that the government of Ukraine would make that would somehow disavow any interference in U.S. elections and would commit to the prosecution of any individuals involved in election interference,” Cooper said. “And that was about as specific as it got.”
Cooper’s testimony was made public as House Democrats on Monday also released transcripts from their interviews with Christopher Anderson, a career foreign service officer at the State Department, and Catherine Croft, a Ukraine expert at the State Department. Croft testified that she speculated Trump would be willing to shift Ukraine policy to hurt a Biden candidacy, and that news of a holdup of Ukraine aid “blew up” a State Department meeting.