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 TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE withheld the aid to pressure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump says impeachment lawyers were 'really good' MORE’s son Hunter, Trump has maintained it was held until September due to worries about corruption within the Ukrainian government.


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 PelosiOvernight Health Care: Justices won't fast-track ObamaCare case before election | New virus spreads from China to US | Collins challenger picks up Planned Parenthood endorsement Why Senate Republicans should eagerly call witnesses to testify Trump health chief: 'Not a need' for ObamaCare replacement plan right now 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.