Chairman Schiff Statement on New Documents Detailing Trump’s Decision To Withhold Military Aid To Ukraine

Washington, DC, Jan. 2, 2020 Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after reporting revealed new and important documents that further expose the details of President Trump’s decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine:

“As part of our impeachment inquiry, the House subpoenaed these very documents. From their deeply incriminating character, we can now see why they were concealed: They directly corroborate witnesses who testified that military aid to Ukraine was withheld at the direction of the President and that the White House was informed doing so may violate the law. The Administration did not want Congress to find out why.

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“The disclosure of these incriminating documents reinforces the need for all of these materials to be produced, and that a fair trial in the Senate cannot take place without them. If they are not produced, the Senate and the American people must ask, what else is the President hiding?

“There are several important takeaways from the newly-revealed documents:

“First, it is clear that the Administration redacted highly-incriminating information, including an August 30 email by OMB Associate Director Michael Duffey indicating that the President personally directed the hold to continue. This was after the hold became public and Secretary Esper, Secretary Pompeo, and National Security Advisor Bolton reportedly encouraged the President to release the military assistance because it was in the interests of the United States’ national security.

“The White House cannot argue that the aid was held for any reason other than to pressure Ukraine into helping the President’s re-election efforts, and at the same time conceal documents and information that contradict any after-the-fact efforts to justify the unjustifiable. The Senate cannot hold a fair trial without insisting on documents it knows the White House possesses that contradict any claimed defense of the President’s misconduct.

“Second, the documents undermine any claim that the hold on military aid was ordered by the President for some unknown but legitimate reason.  Under the Impoundment Control Act, the Administration had an obligation to inform Congress. But the documents show a compelling desire to prevent Congress from finding out. If there was a legitimate reason to place the hold and there was no concern about violating the law, they would have told Congress. But of course they did not, since the whole point of the aid freeze was to coerce Ukraine into interfering in our election to help the President.

“Finally, the documents disclosed today only represent a small subset of the documents that we subpoenaed. Unless the Administration ceases its cover up by providing the documents, the American people will have no choice but to conclude that the additional documents and witness testimony are similarly incriminating. If they were not, the President would turn them over and let the witnesses testify.”