The White House plans to argue that testimony from three witnesses about President Donald Trump's Ukrainian dealings in the impeachment hearings was "filled with hearsay" as public sessions begin this week.
In an email sent to congressional Republicans, the White House was taking the approach to testimony by Defense Department official Laura Cooper, along with Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, two former assistants to former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, The Hill reports.
Democrats released the transcripts of their testimonies on Monday.
The White House email said that one of the "topline takeaways" in their effort was that the witnesses "based everything on second-, third-, and fourth-hand information," contending that neither was on the July 25 telephone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Regarding Cooper's claims, the White House is seeking to discredit those as unfounded, The Hill reports.
Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, told congressional investigators that she had a "very strong inference" that Ukraine knew that $400 million in military aid was being withheld by the Trump administration after talking with Volker and William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine.
Taylor is scheduled to testify in the first public impeachment hearing Wednesday.
But the White House email said: "Cooper's comments about when Ukraine knew about the aid being withheld were conjecture based on information she heard from others.
"Cooper's conjecture about when Ukraine knew about the aid being withheld was based on hearsay — and even then she couldn’t recall specifics," the document said.
The White House also claimed that Cooper "testified that she wasn't on the call with Zelenskiy and doesn't have direct knowledge about the call" beyond the summary President Trump released in September, the Hill reports.
Regarding Taylor, the White House said he testified that Ukraine did not know the aid was being withheld until late August, though he actually testified that it was "my clear understanding" that the aid was based on whether Zelenskiy pursued an investigation into former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.
The email also sought to challenge the testimony of Anderson and Croft by arguing that they also were not on the July telephone call, the Hill reports.
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