On Thursday evening, a major leak of emails from the Trump administration underlined a key point in the impeachment inquiry: Trump himself withheld aid to Ukraine until it announced an investigation into Joe Biden.
The leak is now being investigated by lawmakers who say it has confirmed their fears. Just Security, a national security analysis forum, reviewed and published these emails.
Why this matters
Just Security’s editors have seen unredacted emails that say orders on Ukraine came from the top.
This is key to the ‘abuse of power’ in the impeachment trial. The charge alleges that Trump withheld $400 million of military aid that Congress approved insisting that Ukraine must investigate Joe Biden, a front runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination in order to get the aid.
‘Continue to hold’
According to the report, in an email from August 30, 2019, Michael Duffey, the associate director of national security programs at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told the acting Pentagon comptroller, Elaine McCusker,
“Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.”
Trump’s private decision to temporarily halt assistance to Ukraine ignited increasingly strident protests from officials who said in emails it was illegal and Congress should be notified, newly disclosed documents reveal. #UkraineDocshttps://t.co/hIvIgL4B3k
— The Center for Public Integrity (@publicintegrity) January 2, 2020
Duffey is also one of the witnesses that Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to bring in to testify in the Senate impeachment proceedings, something Mitch McConnell has been blocking.
This new evidence 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.https://t.co/Z9k8YqbNPR
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 2, 2020
Watch a short report by Erin Burnett on CNN on Thursday evening covering the email leak
Chris Hayes covered the story in more detail, said “the e-mails are damning” and called the documents “super-incriminating.”