DOJ: Withheld Emails Show Trump's Reasoning on Ukraine

Administration filing argues against restoring redactions
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2020 8:21 AM CST
DOJ: Blocked Emails Include Ukraine Aid 'Decision-Making'
Stock photo.   (Getty/DonnaSuddes)

Two dozen emails kept from Congress show President Trump's reasoning for withholding military aid from Ukraine, the Justice Department has conceded. The revelation came in a court filing midnight Friday that argued against releasing the content of the emails, the Washington Post reports. An OMB lawyer wrote that "presidential privilege" protects 24 of the 111 heavily redacted emails that were released after the Center for Public Integrity filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act. The filing provides the most complete description so far of the content of the documents, per Politico. The lawyer, Heather Walsh, wrote that they "reflect communications by either the President, the Vice President, or the President’s immediate advisors regarding Presidential ­decision-making about the scope, duration, and purpose of the hold on military assistance to Ukraine."

Democrats could cite the filing to say Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate was fatally flawed; the case concerned Trump's decision to keep nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine, an ally. Just hours before the DOJ's admission, Republicans in the Senate cut off attempts to subpoena documents and witnesses. "Every single Republican senator voted to endorse the White House cover-up of these potentially important truth-revealing emails," Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said Saturday. The truth will come out eventually, he said, and "Republicans will have to answer for why they were so determined to enable the president to hide it." Mitch McConnell, the Senate's majority leader, declined to comment. (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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