Publish Date: January 22, 2020
At 11:58 p.m. on Jan. 21, just two minutes before the deadline, the Office of Management and Budget released 192 pages of Ukraine-related documents, including records that have not been produced to Congress in its impeachment investigation.
Included in the documents are emails from OMB Acting Director Russell Vought and Michael Duffey, OMB’s associate director for national security, including one from Duffey on the day of President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy. Both officials were key players in the withholding of aid to Ukraine last fall, which last week the Government Accountability Office said was illegal.
As the president’s defenders in the Senate repeatedly voted down amendments to subpoena documents and witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, these documents — obtained through the Freedom of Information Act — show a flurry of activity on a number of days in late June 2019 after a Washington Examiner article about military assistance for Ukraine. Additional emails through the summer and early fall, when Pentagon official Elaine McCusker was raising concerns about the legality of the freeze, are heavily redacted.
American Oversight filed several FOIA requests with OMB on for a range of records related to the office’s role in suspending military aid to Ukraine as part of the president’s attempt to pressure Ukraine to launch a political investigation. OMB agreed to search for and release by Jan. 21, 2020, records of emails sent by Vought and Duffey containing key terms related Ukraine, as well as copies of the July 25 OMB memo justifying the withholding of aid.
Statement from Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director:
“President Trump’s lawyers stood in the Senate on Tuesday arguing that documents are totally unnecessary for the impeachment trial, but these documents give lie to that entire position. Despite the Trump Administration’s obstruction and the rhetoric at the trial, the public can now see even more evidence of the president’s corrupt scheme as it unfolded in real time. The volume of material released, and the volume of material still secreted away, only highlights how much the administration has withheld from the House, the Senate, and the American public.”
The documents are below, and you can download them here.
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