Tags: Donald Trump | Trump Administration | Trump Impeachment | Ukraine | emails | aid | pentagon

Emails: 'Clear Direction' From Trump to Hold Aid to Ukraine

john bolton stands in the background as president donald trump sits with his head down in the oval office
President Donald Trump (Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 02 January 2020 05:07 PM

Nearly 300 pages of unredacted emails surrounding President Donald Trump's decision to delay aid to Ukraine reportedly show there were growing concerns at the Pentagon about the lag.

The website Just Security, which is based at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law, said a review of unredacted versions of Trump administration emails released as part of a lawsuit shows Pentagon officials were worried a continued hold on the aid would violate the Impoundment Control Act.

That law requires the executive branch to spend money as appropriated by Congress, and the documents show the necessary steps to avoid running afoul of the act were not being taken.

"Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold," reads one of the emails Aug. 30, from Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget, to Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller, Just Security reported.

The emails were initially released in two batches Dec. 12 and Dec. 21, but the Justice Department decided to black-out several sections, either partially or fully, the Daily Mail noted.

The new batch shows Duffey sent an email July 25 directing the Department of Defense to suspend future military aid to Ukraine.

"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," Duffey wrote in that July email, which was sent just hours after Trump held his now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkiy.

Then he emailed McCusker on Aug. 6, telling her he planned to extend the hold on Ukraine military funding. Days later, she wrote to senior OMB officials, including Duffey, saying she did not feel the pause could be executed.

"As we discussed, as of 12 AUG I don't think we can agree that the pause 'will not preclude timely execution,'" she wrote, the emails showed. "We hope it won't and will do all we can to execute once the policy decision is made, but can no longer make that declarative statement."

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., jumped on the new batch of emails as a reason to call Trump administration officials to testify in Trump impeachment trial in the upper chamber.

"This new evidence also raises questions that can only be answered by having the key Trump administration officials — Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Michael Duffey, and Robert Blair — testify under oath in a Senate trial," he tweeted Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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There were growing concerns at the Pentagon about the delay of Ukraine aid, nearly 300 pages of unredacted emails surrounding President Donald Trump's decision reportedly show.
emails, aid, pentagon, omb, michael duffey, chuck schumer
Thursday, 02 January 2020 05:07 PM
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