News ID: 265908
Published: 0749 GMT February 20, 2020

Another top Pentagon official ousted over Trump’s impeachment saga

Another top Pentagon official ousted over Trump’s impeachment saga

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official has resigned, becoming the latest member of President Trump’s national security team involved in the Ukraine controversy to be forced out from the government.

The under secretary of defense for policy at the Pentagon, who resigned Wednesday, had warned against withholding military aid to Ukraine last year and certified that Ukraine had made sufficient reforms to be eligible to receive $250 million in military aide, presstv.com reported.

That certification undermined Trump's argument in the impeachment battle that the funds had been withheld out of concern over corruption rather than to pressure Kiev to investigate his political rivals.

Rood wrote in a letter to Trump, dated Wednesday, that "it is my understanding from Pentagon chief Esper that you requested my resignation from serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Senior administration officials appointed by the President serve at the pleasure of the President, and therefore, as you have requested, I am providing my resignation effective February 28, 2020."

Rood’s resignation follows similar White House actions against national security officials who testified about Ukraine in Trump’s impeachment hearings.

The US president was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House but acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate early in February. Since his acquittal, Trump has moved swiftly to purge administration officials whose presentation of events did not align with his own, The New York Times said.

Trump's decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine as he pressed the country to investigate Joe Biden, his potential 2020 general election rival were at the center of the president's impeachment trial.

Rood had said in an email to secretary Esper that "placing a hold on security assistance to Ukraine at this time would jeopardize this unique window of opportunity and undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russia."

The resigned Pentagon official clashed with Trump on issues beyond Ukraine, including a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan and the president’s designation last year of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as a “foreign terrorist organization.”

At least eight top Pentagon officials involved in the Ukraine controversy have been forced out from the government in recent months.

   
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