Pentagon Official Tied to Row on Ukraine Resigns at Trump’s Request

WASHINGTON (CN) — A Pentagon official whose input on a foreign-aid package earmarked for Ukraine became central to President Donald Trump’s impeachment resigned Wednesday.

Explaining what spurred the end of John Rood’s two-year tenure as under secretary of defense for policy at the Justice Department, Bloomberg reported this morning that he faced pressure from people close to Trump.

“It is my understanding from Secretary (Mark) Esper that you requested my resignation,” Rood wrote in his resignation letter, according to the Associated Press.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood speaks during a Feb. 2, 2018, news conference at the Pentagon. The Pentagon’s top policy official who had certified last year that the Defense Department had seen enough anti-corruption progress in Ukraine to justify releasing congressionally authorized aid, rood resigned Wednesday at President Donald Trump’s request. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Retweeting Bloomberg’s report that Rood resigned after losing the confidence of some in the administration, Trump thanked Rood for his time at the Pentagon.

“I would like to thank John Rood for his service to our country, and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Trump tweeted.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman would not speculate on why Trump wanted Rood out of the job, but said he does not have information that would suggest it was based on the impeachment saga.

“The president has the opportunity and the ability to have the team that he wants to have in policy positions throughout the federal government,” Hoffman said at a press conference Wednesday. “That’s why we have political appointees.”

Rood was the Pentagon official who certified to Congress that Ukraine had done enough to combat corruption that the United States could release an aid package Congress had set aside for the country.

The White House put a hold on the aid, which became central to the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges on which the House impeached Trump in December. House Democrats said Trump conditioned release of the aid package on Ukraine announcing investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and a discredited theory about the 2016 election.

Rood is the latest government official with a role in Trump’s impeachment to leave government in the two weeks since Trump was acquitted in the Senate. Former White House national security official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland were ousted from their positions earlier this month, just days after the Senate acquittal vote.

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