Center for Public Integrity Challenges Trump Administration Over Heavily Redacted Ukraine Emails

By Rui Kaneya, Alexia Fernández Campbell and Jim Morris, Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity on Friday asked a federal judge to order the Trump administration to divulge information it is concealing about military aid to Ukraine.

The action came hours after the House Judiciary Committee advanced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, alleging that he abused his power by withholding information from Congress and that the aid was improperly disrupted last summer for political reasons.

On Thursday, the Department of Defense released 146 pages of documents Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered it to produce as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Public Integrity. The department heavily redacted the documents, asserting that much of the material contained within was “deliberative,” and therefore, exempt from disclosure.

In a letter accompanying Thursday’s document release, an attorney for the Defense Department explained the redactions by citing three exemptions in the law that protect privacy, “sensitive information of foreign governments” and “privileged” records generated during the “deliberative process.”

Public Integrity is challenging the redactions, saying at least some of the material appears to be factual—not deliberative—and should be released.

“This is not a case of federal agencies asserting an aggressive, good-faith interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act,” Public Integrity said in a motion filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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