Trump’s document redactions on Ukraine emails are ‘puzzling and even suspicious’: Post analysis

Trump’s document redactions on Ukraine emails are ‘puzzling and even suspicious’: Post analysis
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks on the federal judicial confirmation milestones, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

JustSecurity released a trove of documents previously redacted by the White House that concealed the direct implication of President Donald Trump. In an analysis by Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake explained that the previous redactions were suspect.

The most damning finding in the unredacted documents was an Aug. 30 email from top OMB official Michael Duffey, who said it was “clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold” the aid to Ukraine.

“The even bigger takeaway, though, may be how much this fact was obscured,” wrote Blake. “The emails were previously released in redacted form, but many of the redaction choices are puzzling and even suspicious. The redactions include repeated references to legal problems with withholding the aid, basic questions about that subject, and warnings that waiting until too late in the fiscal year (which ended Sept. 30) might mean that some of the funds would never get to Ukraine.”

Blake cited tweets by Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand, who showed the Department of Justice redactions now that they are exposed.

As she explained, there was an entire letter from the Department of Defense to the acting OMB director warning, “we have repeatedly advised OMB officials that pauses beyond Aug. 19, 2019 jeopardize the Department’s ability to obligate USAI funding prudently and fully.”

Blake cited a letter OMB general counsel Mark Paoletta.

OMB general counsel Mark Paoletta either didn’t know or lied to the Government Accountability Office on Dec. 11 when he sent a letter claiming the DOD never flagged anything.

“In fact, at no point during the pause in obligations did DOD [Office of General Counsel] indicate to OMB that, as a matter of law, the apportionments would prevent DOD from being able to obligate the funds before the end of the fiscal year,” Paoletta wrote in the letter.

Clearly, that was far from the truth, as the unredacted documents show three different instances where the DOD flagged concerns.

Republicans have said that there’s not much to the new documents, while Democrats have said they need to look further to uncover more information that was hidden by Trump’s team.

Read the full report at The Washington Post.

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