John Rood, Top Defense Official, Latest to Be Ousted After Impeachment Saga


WASHINGTON — John C. Rood, the Defense Department’s top policy official, is the latest member of President Trump’s national security team involved in the Ukraine matter to be ousted from the government.

Mr. Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, will step down at the end of February, the department’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said Wednesday. A Defense official said that Mr. Trump had told Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper that he wanted Mr. Rood out; in his resignation letter, Mr. Rood himself made it crystal clear that he had been pushed out.

“It is my understanding from Secretary Esper that you requested my resignation,” Mr. Rood said in the letter to the president, which was dated Wednesday. “Therefore, as you have requested, I am providing my resignation effective February 28, 2020.”

Mr. Trump, for his part, said in a tweet: “I would like to thank John Rood for his service to our Country, and wish him well in his future endeavors!” As part of his tweet, the president shared a story from Bloomberg reporting that Mr. Rood would soon be leaving.

Mr. Rood was part of the team at the Defense Department that told Congress last year that Ukraine had made the necessary reforms to justify sending the country $250 million in promised security assistance. The certification was widely viewed as undermining a key argument Mr. Trump’s defense team made during his impeachment battle: that Mr. Trump withheld the aid because he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine.

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