The filing, released near midnight Friday, marks the first official acknowledgment from the Trump administration that emails about the President’s thinking related to the aid exist, and that he was directly involved in asking about and deciding on the aid as early as June. The administration is still blocking those emails from the public and has successfully kept them from Congress.
A lawyer with the Office of Management and Budget wrote to the court that 24 emails between June and September 2019 — including an internal discussion among DOD officials called “POTUS follow-up” on June 24 — should stay confidential because the emails describe “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.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Saturday, “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.”
Government officials testified in the House’s impeachment inquiry to the existence of what appears to be some of the emails.
“The day after DOD issued its June 18 press release announcing $250 million in security assistance funds for Ukraine, President Trump started asking OMB questions about the funding for Ukraine,” the House outlined in its impeachment report.
The House noted that the OMB refused to turn over any documents when subpoenaed during the probe, and that emails may exist showing acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney passing along the President’s order to halt the aid to Ukraine.
“The Committees also 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 before it voted to impeach the President for obstruction of Congress.