On Wednesday, a federal judge said he will order the State Department to within 30 days begin producing Ukraine-related documents requested by American Oversight.
In its ongoing investigation of the Trump administration’s contacts with Ukraine and attempts to push a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election, American Oversight asked the State Department for records related to efforts by Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, to pressure the Ukrainian government to open a politically motivated investigation, as well as for records related to the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Earlier this month, given the urgency of the public’s need for information as the House’s impeachment inquiry moves forward, we filed a lawsuit and asked for a preliminary injunction to compel the government to immediately begin processing and releasing documents. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held a hearing on American Oversight’s emergency motion seeking the release of Ukraine records — including any communications between Secretary Mike Pompeo and Giuliani.
The Trump administration’s constant obstruction of congressional oversight requests has continued throughout the House’s ongoing impeachment investigation, with the White House having ordered administration officials not to comply with subpoena requests from the relevant House committees. But even if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to continue this obstruction, the public will begin to see the paper trail of the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
American Oversight’s requested records include senior officials’ communications with Giuliani and other associates, or about Giuliani’s efforts with regard to Ukraine, as well as records related to the recall of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch, who was fired in May 2019, a move she testified was pushed by both Giuliani and the president. American Oversight has another lawsuit against the State Department for records from former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, and this week we sued the Department of Energy for records related to outgoing Secretary Rick Perry’s contacts with Ukrainian officials, as well as those of his successor, Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette.
“Despite the ongoing obstruction of Congress, the Trump administration will now have to start releasing records concerning its dealings with Ukraine,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director. “This is an important victory for the American people’s right to know the facts about Ukraine, and it is a major setback for the White House’s stonewalling. The court recognized the importance of these documents and the need for the State Department to rapidly release them, and American Oversight will continue fighting to make sure the truth comes out.”
American Oversight has submitted more than 50 Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple federal agencies seeking documents related to the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch a political investigation. More details on American Oversight’s investigation and lawsuits can be found here.