- Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood has been asked to resign after losing the support of senior national security leadership, CNN first reported Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
- Rood, who joined the Trump administration in 2018, was involved in approving $250 million in security assistance for Ukraine, aid that was temporarily withheld by the White House last summer.
- Letters and emails he sent undermined the administration’s arguments on the reasons behind the decision to withhold aid and expressed concern about the potential impact on US defense priorities, CNN reported.
- Bloomberg reports that Trump lost confidence in Rood’s ability to execute his agenda.
- Foreign Policy reports that Rood was asked to resign not because of his connection to the Ukraine scandal but rather because the president lost confidence in him following the departure of a number of senior Pentagon policymakers.
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A senior Pentagon policy official is being asked to resign after losing the support of top national security leadership, CNN first reported Wednesday morning.
John Rood, under secretary of defense for policy, is stepping down, CNN and Bloomberg reported, each outlet citing two sources familiar with the matter.
“He was told to resign,” a US official told Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, who wrote on Twitter that it was still unclear why.
Bloomberg, citing multiple administration officials, reports that Trump lost confidence in Rood’s ability to execute his agenda.
Foreign Policy, citing one source, reported Wednesday that Rood was asked to resign at the recommendation of National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien after Trump lost confidence in Rood following a string of departures of senior Pentagon policymakers.
The Department of Defense declined Insider’s request for a comment on Rood’s reported departure.
In his role at the Pentagon, which involved building partnerships and encouraging defense cooperation with US allies and partners, Rood certified for Congress that Ukraine was eligible to receive $250 million in security assistance.
That aid was temporarily withheld at the direction of the White House last summer.
While the Trump administration has argued that it withheld the aid due to concerns over corruption, President Donald Trump has been accused of using the aid to pressure Ukraine to advance his political aims.
In May, prior to the president’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine, Rood sent a letter to lawmakers stating that he “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 letter, which leaked in September following claims by the White House that the move was intended to combat corruption, undermined the president’s argument.
Rood also personally expressed concern about withholding aid to Ukraine in an email to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper following Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the phone conversation that set in motion Trump’s impeachment.
In the email, which was recently reviewed by CNN, Rood wrote 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 Russia.”
Ukrainian forces are fighting Russian-backed separatists in the country’s eastern region.
While Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction, he was acquitted by the Senate. In the aftermath of his impeachment, Trump has taken steps to remove some officials from their posts.