The Department of Justice reportedly said in a court filing just hours after the Senate voted against subpoenaing additional witnesses and documents in President Trump’s impeachment trial that it has two dozen emails related to his involvement in the halt of U.S. military aid to Ukraine.
An Office of Management and Budget (OMB) lawyer said in the filing that the emails are protected by “presidential privilege,” The Washington Post reported.
“Specifically, the documents in this category are emails that reflect communications by either the President, the Vice President, or the President’s immediate advisors regarding Presidential decision-making about the scope, duration, and purpose of the hold on military assistance to Ukraine,” the OMB lawyer said in arguing that the emails should remain redacted.
The Center for Public Integrity received a heavily redacted version of the emails in December through a Freedom of Information Act request, according to the Post, which added that the judge in the case wanted an outline of what information is in the emails and why they were redacted.
that the filing is the administration’s first acknowledgement that there are emails related to Trump’s thinking about the aid freeze, which is central to Democrats’ impeachment effort.
Senate Democrats have argued that the White House has refused to hand over documentation that would shed further light on the decisionmaking behind the aid freeze and whether it was linked to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Democrats’ hopes of obtaining the documents were dashed on Friday, however, when senators voted not to seek witnesses and the documentation in a 51 to 49 vote.
The Senate minority needed four GOP senators to break ranks and vote in favor of the measure, but in the end, only two Republicans did: Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine).