Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA

Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA
© Getty Images

The Center for Public Integrity on Friday filed a motion in federal court to try to force the Trump administration to hand over documents regarding its decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine.

The motion, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenges redactions on more than 100 pages of documents released by the Pentagon in response to the center's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“This is not a case of federal agencies asserting an aggressive, good-faith interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act,” the center said.


An attorney for the Pentagon explained the redactions, citing three exemptions in the law that protect privacy, “sensitive information of foreign governments” and “privileged” records generated during the “deliberative process.” 

Some Democratic members of Congress also objected to the redactions, suggesting that the White House was hiding something. 

“The Center for Public Integrity sued in federal court for documents related to the Ukraine scandal, and this is what they got,” said Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHispanic Democrats give Bloomberg camp warm reception House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts Lawmakers warn Pentagon against reduction of US forces in Africa MORE (D-Texas), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which on Friday passed two articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE. “They won in court, but what they got were heavily redacted documents. Why? Because the president doesn’t want these documents to see the light of day.” 

“The courts continue to rule in favor of transparency, and I hope the judge will do so again,” added House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority MORE (D-Md.). “No one is above the law, not even this president, and Congress will continue to uphold the rule of law and its duty to conduct oversight.” 

The holdup of the nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine is at the heart of the House’s current impeachment investigation into Trump, with Democrats and a handful of witnesses alleging that it was leveraged to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' MORE, one of Trump’s chief political rivals, and 2016 election meddling.