New Docs Show That White House Froze Ukraine Aid Two Hours After Zelensky Call

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo by SAUL LOEB... TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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December 21, 2019 2:51 p.m.
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According to newly released documents, the White House moved to freeze military aid to Ukraine less than two hours after President Donald Trump’s July 25th call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The documents were obtained with a FOIA request by the Center for Public Integrity and published Friday night. 

“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,” Mike Duffey, an Office of Management and Budget official, wrote in a July 25 email to OMB and Pentagon officials. “Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction.”

On September 11, Duffey wrote another email informing Department of Defense Comptroller Elaine McCusker that the aid would be released. He said that he was “glad to have this behind us.”

The documents add more clarity to the timeline of the Ukraine pressure campaign and to events specifically occurring around the July 25 call, which touched off the whistleblower complaint and eventually, entire impeachment inquiry. Trump has continued to insist, despite multiple witness testimonies, that there was no quid pro quo, or exchange of bogus investigations that he pushed for from Zelensky on the call for the $391 million in military aid.

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