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Iran Press TV

DOJ acknowledges emails showing details of Trump's thinking on Ukraine aid freeze

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 02 February 2020 4:28 PM

The US Justice Department has revealed the existence of two dozen emails shielded from Congress that detailed President Donald Trump's decision-making regarding the withholding of military assistance to Ukraine.

The DOJ revealed in a court filing that it has the copies of more than 100 emails written by officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Defense Department about the hold on nearly $400 million of funds to Ukraine.

Heather V. Walsh, an OMB lawyer, said that of the 111 redacted emails in the lawsuit, 24 are protected by "presidential privilege."

Walsh added that the emails, which span from June to September 2019, "reflect communications by either the president, the vice president, or the president's immediate advisers regarding presidential decision-making about the scope, duration, and purpose of the hold on military assistance to Ukraine."

"[T]he withheld information consists of either the status of an ongoing decision-making process involving the president, information that was solicited and received by the president as part of his official duties, or information that was solicited and received by the president's immediate advisers."

Trump's decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine as he pressed the country to investigate Joe Biden, his potential 2020 general election rival, and his son Hunter, are at the center of the president's impeachment trial.

Senate Republicans have blocked Democratic-led efforts to subpoena additional witnesses and documents as part of the trial, which concludes on Wednesday.

In a 51 to 49 vote, the Senate managed to stop Democrats' drive to hear testimony from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Saturday that, "Every single Republican Senator voted to endorse the White House cover-up of these potentially important truth-revealing emails. Make no mistake, the full truth will eventually come out and Republicans will have to answer for why they were so determined to enable the president to hide it."

The Democratic-led House on December 18 impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress arising from his request that Ukraine investigate the Bidens, setting the stage for the Senate trial to determine if he should be removed from office.

"The Committees have good-faith reason to believe that the Office of Management and Budget is in possession of and continues to withhold significantly more documents and records responsive to the subpoena and of direct relevance to the impeachment inquiry," the House wrote at the time before voting to impeach the US president.

While the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to acquit Trump, it is important for the president to try to blunt the Democratic accusations to limit political damage to his bid for a second term.

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