Unredacted Documents Show Trump Insisting on Holding Aid to Ukraine

Unredacted Documents Show Trump Insisting on Holding Aid to Ukraine January 3, 2020

New evidence of a coverup, meaning obstruction of justice, has emerged in the form of unredacted emails, redacted versions of which were given to investigators earlier by the Department of Justice. They show that the DOJ redacted information that was bad for Trump rather than for national security reasons.

Just Security’s Kate Brannen was able to view unredacted emails in which the Office of Management and Budget and the Defense Department discussed the withholding of military aid. The big new takeaway is that there was significant concern within the Pentagon about the legality and sustainability of the hold. Despite that, according to one email from top OMB official Michael Duffey on Aug. 30, there was “clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.”

The even bigger takeaway, though, may be how much this fact was obscured. The emails were previously released in redacted form, but many of the redaction choices are puzzling and even suspicious. The redactions include repeated references to legal problems with withholding the aid, basic questions about that subject, and warnings that waiting until too late in the fiscal year (which ended Sept. 30) might mean that some of the funds would never get to Ukraine.

Bottom line: This amounts to the DOJ lying to Congress and covering up the fact that Trump demanded that the aid be withheld despite repeated and consistent objections from the Pentagon, the OMB, the DOJ and his own national security aides. There is no legal reason to redact an email showing that Trump personally gave an order to withhold the aid. It was done to prevent Congressional investigators from finding out a truth that implicated Trump directly. That is not a legal basis for redaction, it’s an attempt to obstruct justice.

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