'Explosive' White House Email on Ukraine Aid Released

Hold on aid was ordered 91 minutes after Trump call
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2019 5:18 AM CST
Updated Dec 23, 2019 6:21 AM CST
91 Minutes After Trump Call, Official Ordered Hold on Aid
"This email is explosive," Schumer says.   (Senate TV via AP)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says an "explosive" email proves that new witnesses are needed at President Trump's impeachment trial. The email obtained by the Center for Public Integrity shows that White House officials asked for aid to Ukraine to be withheld just 91 minutes after the president's fateful phone call with the country's president, ABC reports. In the call—which led to a whistleblower complaint and, eventually, his impeachment—Trump asked Volodymyr Zelensky to "do us a favor" and investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Later that morning, White House official Mike Duffey from the Office of Budget Management emailed Pentagon officials and asked them to "hold off" on aid to Ukraine pending a White House review.

"Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction," he wrote. A judge ordered the release of the email Friday under a Freedom of Information Act request. OBM spokeswoman Rachel Semmel says the hold on funds was discussed a week earlier and it is "reckless" to connect it to the Trump phone call, CNN reports. Schumer, however, says it is very clear that Duffey should testify at Trump's trial in the Senate, reports the BBC. "This email is explosive," he says. "A top administration official, one that we requested, is saying, stop the aid 90 minutes after Trump called Zelensky and said keep it hush, hush," he says. "What more do you need to request a witness?" (More Trump impeachment stories.)

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