The fraught relationship between the Trump administration and the New York Times has reached another level.
On Friday night, the Times reported that the Trump administration is withholding 20 emails discussing the congressional freeze on Ukraine military aid between a top aide to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and an official at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
The Trump administration’s decision to withhold the emails comes after the Times filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in late November for emails exchanged between Robert Blair, a senior adviser to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Mike Duffey, the OMB official in charge of overseeing national security money.
“All 20 documents are being withheld in full,” Dionne Hardy, the office’s Freedom of Information Act officer, wrote to the Times on Friday.
Citing exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act, which “protects both deliberative and presidential communications,” Hardy wrote to the Times that the disclosure of this material would “inhibit the frank and candid exchange of views that is necessary for effective government decision-making.”
In response to Hardy’s letter, David McCraw, a lawyer for The Times, said that the publication plans to challenge the White House’s withholding of the documents and will request that the judge overseeing the lawsuit, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, approve an expedited schedule for briefs and arguments.
On Monday, the Times separately reported that Blair warned Mulvaney to “expect Congress to become unhinged” if the White House proceeded to withhold military aid from Ukraine.
The administration’s decision to withhold the emails from the Times also comes just a day after leaked emails from the Pentagon that were obtained by Just Security added to the pile of evidence showing that President Trump himself ordered a freeze on U.S. money destined to Ukraine.
Read the White House’s Office of Management and Budget letter to the New York Times below:
Read The New York Times’ report here.