Even as the Senate majority signaled its intentions not to bring in additional witnesses or documents in the impeachment trial, new information continues to emerge. On Friday afternoon, the Defense Department lifted redactions on Ukraine-related documents American Oversight had obtained through Freedom of Information Act litigation.
The newly revealed text is in an Aug. 31, 2019, email Defense Secretary Mark Esper sent to Deputy Secretary David Norquist and Undersecretary John Rood with follow-up points from a meeting the day before. We now see that in the note to Norquist and Rood, Esper mentioned both Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine security assistance funding — the very aid the president was using as leverage to coerce Zelensky to announce an investigation into the Bidens.
The records, which American Oversight had obtained back in December, showed officials at the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget engaged on the issue of aid to Ukraine at a time when the president was insisting on freezing the aid.
The Aug. 31 email from Esper was sent the day after he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met with President Donald Trump to discuss Ukraine funding. That day, OMB Associate Director Michael Duffey had sent an email to Elaine McCusker, the acting Defense Department comptroller, that said, “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.”
The email with the lifted redactions is below. You can read more about the Defense Department documents American Oversight obtained in December here.
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