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McConnell Hunkers Down As Newly Released Emails Fuel Democrats’ Request For Trial Witnesses



Newly released emails have given Democrats in their requests for new witnesses as Party leaders in Congress continued to spar Monday over details of an impending impeachment trial in the Senate, NPR reports.

The emails, released late Friday to the Center for Public Integrity, show government officials were grappling with issues raised because of the Trump administration’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine, questioning the legality of the President’s actions.

While the emails are heavily redacted, Democrats have zeroed in on one in particular message to bolster their argument that there is more to know about the saga of President Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for political investigations.

The message about the hold was from a senior official in the Office of Management and Budget, Michael Duffey, who sent it less than two hours after Trump got off the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25 — and requested that the matter be kept quiet.

Duffey said the halt was “based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine.”

“Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute the direction,” Duffey wrote, according to NPR.

R. Jeffrey Smith from the Center for Public Integrity told NPR’s Morning Edition that “there was huge anxiety inside the government that the aid-hold was not only unwise, but that it was illegal.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the Duffey email “explosive” and held up a copy of it at a press conference on Sunday. He is trying to ratchet up pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to agree to call new witnesses when the trial begins in the Senate.

You can read the entire report here.