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Pentagon letter certified Ukraine had taken action to decrease corruption before White House blocked aid

The Defense Department certified the Ukrainian government had taken action to reduce corruption in a May letter, undercutting recent White House claims.

Amid allegations that President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE withheld the aid to pressure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE’s son Hunter, Trump has maintained it was held until September due to worries about corruption within the Ukrainian government.

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However, in the letter, first obtained by NPR, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood tells four congressional committees he has “certified that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption (and) increasing accountability."

“The United States remains committed to assisting with the implementation of these reforms to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity in support of a secure and democratic Ukraine,” the letter states.

Such a certification was legally required for the release of the $250 million in funds, which were blocked until Sept. 11.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

The allegations that the aid was part of a quid pro quo were part of a whistleblower complaint reviewed by Congress Wednesday, and prompted House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) to on Tuesday formally announce she would seek an impeachment inquiry as the allegations led numerous former holdouts among House Democrats to endorse impeachment.