By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) The Justice Department acknowledged in a court filing just hours after the GOP-controlled Senate voted for no additional impeachment witnesses on Friday that it has 24 emails related to President Donald Trump’s temporary halt in military aid to Ukraine.
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As reported by The Hill, the acknowledgement came in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Center for Public Integrity, which received the heavily redacted emails in December.
An Office of Management and Budget (OMB) lawyer said in the filing that the emails are protected by â€œpresidential privilege,â€Â The Washington Post adds.
â€œSpecifically, the documents in this category are emails that reflect communications by either the President, the Vice President, or the Presidentâ€™s immediate advisors regarding Presidential decision-making about the scope, duration, and purpose of the hold on military assistance to Ukraine,â€ the OMB lawyer said in arguing that the emails should stay redacted.
The Hill noted further:
The Center for Public Integrity received a heavily redacted version of the emails in December through aÂ Freedom of Information Act request, according to the Post, which added that the judge in the case wanted an outline of whatÂ information is in the emails and why they were redacted.Â
CNNÂ notesÂ that the filing is the administration’s firstÂ acknowledgement that there are emails related to Trump’s possible thinking about the aid freeze, which is central to Democrats’ impeachment effort.Â
Senate Democrats had arguedÂ that the White House has refused to hand over documentation would shed further light into the decision-making behind the aid freeze and if it was indeed linked to Ukrainian PresidentÂ Volodymyr ZelenskyÂ publicly announcing an investigation intoÂ Joe BidenÂ andÂ the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden.
Much attention by the “mainstream” media, Leftist pundits and Democrats in Congress has focused on “Trump’s thinking” as it pertains to his Ukraine policies and, in particular, the delay in military aid as it relates to a probe of the Bidens.
But the president’s ‘thinking’ isn’t relevant given the facts, which are these: The military aid was delivered, as it was intended to be, and the Ukrainians never launched probes into the Bidens.
Based on the transcript of the phone call that was identified by the CIA “whistleblower,” reported to be Eric Ciaramella, Trump merely suggested that President Volodymyr Zelensky might want to look into allegations of corruption and 2016 election meddling by his country on behalf of Hillary Clinton, which did indeed happen, according to earlier reporting.
He didn’t demand it and he certainly did not threaten to withhold military aid unless he got his probe, but the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream press seem intent on pushing the narrative that what Trump was thinking was criminal, not his actions.
In short, they are trying to hold President Trump to a standard no president before him has been held to in order to justify trying to remove him from office.
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