Ukraine Aid Freeze Ordered 91 Minutes After Trump’s Call With Zelensky
Is your mind made up on whether to impeach or not?
by Axios | 12.21.19
The White House budget office ordered the Pentagon to withhold military aid to Ukraine 91 minutes after President Trump's phone call with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, emails released to the Center for Public Integrity show.
Details: The 146 pages of heavily redacted emails between the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request and court order also show Trump asked about withholding aid to Ukraine the month before his July 25 call with Zelensky.
"Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration's plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process. ... Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction."
Excerpt of a July 25 email from Office of Management and Budget official Mike Duffey to OMB and Pentagon officials, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity
Why it matters: Allegations that Trump froze nearly $400 million of congressionally approved military aid in order to pressure Ukraine to carry out investigate his potential 2020 rival former Vice President Joe Biden is a central focus of impeachment proceedings against the president.
What they're saying: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted that release of the documents is important because it shows, "1. Ukraine aid was held just hours after the Trump/Zelensky 'do us a favor' call 2. Internal notes show Trump’s direct involvement 3. Staff knew it was wrong, kept it secret."
- The president has yet to comment on the release of the emails, but he and his Republican allies maintain he did nothing wrong in regards to Ukraine. He told a rally on the day he was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress Wednesday night that the Democrats had been "trying to impeach me from day one."
Read the documents:
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