Trump ousts top defence official who certified Ukraine aid

Top Pentagon official resigns at Trump's request

John Rood resigned Wednesday, saying he was leaving at Trump's request.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood, who began working for the US government under President George W. Bush, sent an email to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper questioning President Donald Trump's decision to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid from Ukraine.

The Trump administration's delay in releasing the aid to Ukraine was central to the president's impeachment by the House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

President Trump has expressed his gratitude for US Under Secretary of Defence John Rood's service on his post and wished him well. Rood said he will step down as of February 28. "It's my understanding from Secretary (Mark) Esper that you requested my resignation", Rood said.

Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy, appears to be the latest official to be purged.

"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", Rood wrote in the letter, reported The Hill.

Rood emailed Defense Secretary Mark Esper in the hours after Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to state that "placing a hold on security assistance at this time would jeopardize this unique window of opportunity and undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russian Federation", reports CNN.

Rood also had written a letter to the president about his resignation. He said Rood's resignation letter spoke for itself.

Rood's assessment at that time appeared to contradict the position of the White House, which has maintained that it temporarily blocked U.S. aid to Ukraine over concerns about corruption.

Bloomberg News reported that Trump officials believed he was not executing the President's agenda quickly enough because he did not fully agree with the policies.



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