About 90 minutes after US President Donald Trump called his Ukrainian counterpart Volodimir Zelenski earlier this year, a White House official asked that military aid to Kiev be stopped, according to emails released on Sunday.
Michael Duffey, National Security associate director, asked “based on guidance” received in light of the Trump Administration’s revised assistance plan to Ukraine, that Pentagon officials withhold aid in July, emails made available by the non-profit Center for Public Integrity read.
“Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction,” reads Mr Duffey’s email to Pentagon official Elaine McCusker, dated July 25.
The documents were obtained by the non-profit following a judge order and show the call between the rulers occurred between 9.03 am and 9.33 am on July 25, 91 minutes before Mr Duffey’s 11.04 am email ? which also appears in another batch at 15.03.
The messages were made available after the Democrat opposition approved Trump’s impeachment on power abuse and Congress obstruction charges, making him the third president to be indicted in the country’s history.
The process was triggered by a September leak from inside the White House about a controversial favour the president allegedly asked the Ukrainian leader during his telephone conversation.
The leak, attributed to a CIA agent assigned to the White House to inform intelligence services about a July telephone conversation between Mr Trump and Mr Zelenski, encouraged Democrats to push the process forward.
In that call, Mr Trump pressured Mr Zelenski to investigate his political rival and former vice president, Democrat Joe Biden, who’s currently a candidate for his party in the 2020 US elections and his son Hunter for alleged corruption in Ukraine.