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The Trump administration’s 55-day halt this summer of hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance and weapons sales to Ukraine was initially unpublicized. What’s now known is that the Defense and State departments, along with an overwhelming majority in Congress, strongly supported assisting Ukraine — a country attempting to fend off Russia’s inroads on its territory.
But as congressional hearings have made clear, the assistance was opposed by one man: President Donald Trump.
Because of the White House’s attempts to hide information about the interruption in aid to Ukraine — an issue central to the U.S. House’s impeachment proceedings against Trump — key details about it have remained murky: When did it start, who in the government knew about it, how did they react and what did they say to one another? And while it’s evident many inside the government were either confused or upset about it, the White House has blocked the release of key documents reflecting what they were saying to each other.
That’s why the Center for Public Integrity filed two Freedom of Information Act requests in late September, seeking copies of emails and other communications between the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Defense about the aid from April to the present, and also copies of messages passed between three top Pentagon officials about the aid, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
So far, the only emails turned over by the administration had key information blacked out. So Public Integrity has filed a protest about that with the federal district court overseeing the news organization’s request. In the meantime, here’s a summary of what’s known from public hearings and other sources about who did what, and said what, and when, about U.S. security assistance and weapons sales to Ukraine: