During the debate over the articles of impeachment today, Republican Rep. Mike Johnson claimed that top officials in Ukraine did not know until late August that the White House was withholding military aid.
“Let me correct something else,” Johnson said. “My good friend and trusted friend [Rep. Zoe] Lofgren said before the break at some point that the Ukrainians knew about the hold on the aid, but the fact is senior Ukrainian government officials did not know about the delay in funding until August 28th.”
What we know: It’s unclear when exactly Ukrainian government officials knew that nearly $400 million in military and security aid was being withheld. But there is evidence to suggest that some of them suspected there was an issue with the funding as early as July 25, the same day as President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to testimony from Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, before the House Intelligence Committee, some members of her staff told her that they had received queries about the aid from Ukrainian officials on July 25.
Cooper did not, however, know if the Ukrainian officials were aware of a hold on the aid or were just checking in.
The New York Times has reported that, according to Olena Zerkal, an ex-top official in Kiev, members of the Ukrainian government knew the aid was being held up at some point in late July, but Zerkal could not recall the exact date.
It wasn’t until Politico reported in late August that Trump was withholding military aid to Ukraine that top Zelensky adviser, Andrey Yermak, texted Kurt Volker, Trump’s special envoy for Ukraine, with a link to the article and a message “we need to talk.”