State Dept. Agrees to Provide Ukraine Records to Watchdog Founded by Obama Officials

President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The U.S. State Department this week agreed to comply with a federal judge’s order to produce documents related to President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine to a so-called watchdog group founded by former Obama administration officials.

On October 23, Federal Judge Christopher Cooper from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered State to provide the documents to the organization American Oversight within 30 days.

The State Department reportedly agreed on Wednesday to provide the information to American Oversight by November 22. American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get the documents.

Cooper’s October 23 ruling came amid the House Democrats’ partisan impeachment inquiry. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine are at the center of the investigation. It appears that American Oversight is helping its Democrat allies with their efforts to impeach and remove Trump.

So far, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to produce documents sought by House Democrat impeachment investigators.

On Wednesday, McClatchy reported:

According to a brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday night, the State Department settled on terms for the records release with American Oversight, an ethics watchdog that sued for a swift release of the records in court. The records will also include communications from Pompeo’s inner circle with [President Donald Trump’s private lawyer Rudy] Giuliani or with any other individuals outside of government related to Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts.

According to its joint filing with American Oversight updating the court, the State Department agreed to release communications – including text messages, e-mails, and electronic calendar entries – “with the appropriate redactions” regarding the president’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden. That effort is currently the subject of a House impeachment inquiry.

The State Department will also search for and release “final directives” – from either the White House or State Department leadership – to recall the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and accompanying explanations.

Wednesday’s brief came in response to Judge Cooper’s October 23 request for a status update.

Pompeo has vowed to fulfill his department’s legal obligations in the impeachment probe but has refused to release documents requested by investigators.

The secretary has said the State Department would take a cue from the White House, which is refusing to cooperate with House Democrats pursuing the impeachment inquiry.

Last week, Pompeo declared that he saw “no reason” for State to refuse abiding by the October 23 ruling.


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