White House Froze Ukraine Aid Just Hours After Trump/Zelensky Call

Donald Trump

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Center for Public Integrity, a federal judge ordered the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Pentagon to release documents related to the White House freezing military aid to Ukraine.

From The Hill:

According to the documents, shortly after President Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, White House aides were tasked with halting the $391 million of military aid.

Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, and the withholding of aid, is at the center of the impeachment proceedings that began in the House and will now move to the Senate in the new year.

The obtained documents contain emails sent by senior White House official Michael Duffey. Duffey, a Trump appointee, works through the OMB and is responsible for overseeing national security money.

“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,” Duffey wrote to OMB and Pentagon officials on July 25.

“Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction,” Duffey added.

The freeze of the aid apparently raised eyebrows at the OMB and other government agencies, with many worried that the delay of aid would make it hard for the assistance to go through before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.