New Docs: Trump Ordered Top Aides To Halt Ukraine Aid Shortly After His Call With Zelensky
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Pentagon have released new documents revealing further insight into President Donald Trump’s freezing of congressionally-approved aid to Ukraine until the war-torn country launched an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and published them late Friday by the Center for Public Integrity.
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.
Specifically, the obtained documents, while heavily redacted, 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 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.
For example, Department of Defense Comptroller Elaine McCusker mentioned in a Sept. 5 email what she called an “increasing risk of execution.”
On Sept. 11, Duffey informed McCusker that the aid was being released. McCusker, through email, asks Duffey what caused the holdup. The first part of Duffey’s response is redacted, but he goes on to say that he’s “glad to have this behind us.”