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 TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE withheld the aid to pressure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims The Memo: Scale of economic crisis sends shudders through nation The Hill's Campaign Report: Coronavirus forces Democrats to postpone convention MORE’s son Hunter, Trump has maintained it was held until September due to worries about corruption within the Ukrainian government.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 PelosiNJ governor calls for assessment of coronavirus response after crisis abates Overnight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus 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.