Judge Amy Berman Jackson Rules Sternly Against Trump Again

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At one time, the worst thing Donald Trump had done as president – or at least the worst and most illegal thing that we knew of – was extort a foreign government by withholding allocated military aid in order to get disparaging conspiracy theories around his Democratic political rival, Joe Biden, and his family. Since then, 160,000 people have died, more than ten percent of the population is without paid work, and tensions around racial injustices have boiled over in major cities across the country. In the face of all of that, people may have forgotten that Trump was impeached early this year, but The New York Times has not forgotten and is still pursuing the story.

Reporter Charlie Savage filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in order to gain access to communications between Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney and White House official Robert Blair after the aid to Ukraine had already been withheld. The Trump administration did what seems to be their entire job lately, which is work overtime to keep relevant information away from the eyes of the American people.

According to The National Law Journal,

‘New York Times reporter Charlie Savage filed the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit during the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump last year, seeking emails between White House official Robert Blair—a top aide to Mick Mulvaney, who was then acting chief of staff—and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey about a hold placed on Ukrainian military assistance.

‘OMB officials informed the newspaper that it had identified 20 responsive emails but would withhold the emails entirely, arguing they were exempt from FOIA under exemptions for presidential communications and deliberative decision-making.’

The Trump administration’s argument is that Blair’s communications are covered by executive privilege since he was a “top advisor” to the president during the decision to withhold the aid. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the judge who also heard the case involving Trump’s longtime friend and informal campaign advisor Roger Stone, said that the White House had not done enough to prove that Blair’s communications with Mulvaney are protected since Blair had not been established by their evidence to be a close advisor to Donald Trump, which is required in order to invoke executive privilege.

‘The broad, overly general declaration by a person with no personal knowledge whatsoever cannot begin to explain what the communications Blair had with Duffy after the hold had already [been] placed on the aid.’

Communications between Blair and Mulvaney are not the only pieces of evidence being sought at this time around the Ukranian aid. A number of separate cases are circulating in the federal courts seeking information about other documents being kept from the public.

 

‘A number of public records lawsuits on the Ukrainian military hold, the subject of last year’s impeachment of President Donald Trump, have been making their way through the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Senate acquitted Trump on two articles of impeachment earlier this year.’

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