House investigators were unable to reach answers to a number of questions that remained about the handling of the Ukraine scandal in the White House because of the administration’s reluctance to participate in the impeachment inquiry.
For instance, the intelligence committee was unable to determine if the resignation of former NSC chief John Bolton – on September 10, amid the first reports of a whistleblower complaint – was related to the Ukraine matter because Bolton and his top deputy, Charles Kupperman, refused to testify for lawmakers, the report says.
The report also relies on the accounting of The New York Times to explain why President Trump first learned of the existence of the whistleblower complaint, which the paper said came in a briefing with the White House counsel and an NSC lawyer in late August.
It also remains unclear why Trump lifted the hold on the military aid to Ukraine.
“Just like there was no official explanation for why the hold on Ukraine security assistance was implemented, numerous witnesses testified that they were not provided with a reason for why the hold was lifted on September 11,” the report says.
A senior budget official, Mark Sandy, did testify that he had been told the aid was on hold because Trump was concerned that other countries were not contributing more to Ukraine, although Sandy told lawmakers that the situation was entirely unique, and that he wasn’t aware that any countries had committed to provide more aid prior to the hold being lifted.
On the evening of September 11, before the hold was lifted, Trump met with Vice President Mike Pence, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Sen. Rob Portman to discuss the hold. Around 8pm that night, Mulvaney’s office informed Kupperman that the hold had been lifted, the report says, citing witness testimony.