WASHINGTON — The Pentagon Inspector General has declined the request of seven Senate Democrats to open a probe into whether the Defense Department was negligent in delaying congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine, according to a letter.
In a letter to senators on Tuesday, Inspector General Glenn Fine said “it is clear that there would be overlap in key witnesses and similar documents to review in any potential DoD IG investigation” with three House committees also investigating the hold on military aid that’s at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and six other lawmakers in September called on Fine to investigate five issues, including whether the Pentagon was “directed to slow or halt its work to spend” funds directed to Ukraine and by whom.
Closed door testimony and the written transcript of a Pentagon official before the impeachment inquiry has answered some of the questions.
Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, told House investigators that she and other Pentagon officials were informed by Office of Management and Budget that President Donald Trump had “concerns” about the nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine a week after a hold was placed on the funds, according to a transcript of her testimony.
Fine said his decision not to investigate “could change, however, as circumstances evolve and the congressional inquiry proceeds.” At the conclusion of the impeachment proceeding “we would once again consider investigating such DoD matters that have not been sufficiently addressed and warrant additional scrutiny,” Fine wrote.
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