Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA

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The Center for Public Integrity on Friday filed a motion in federal court to try to force the Trump administration to hand over documents regarding its decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine.

The motion, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenges redactions on more than 100 pages of documents released by the Pentagon in response to the center’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“This is not a case of federal agencies asserting an aggressive, good-faith interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act,” the center said.

An attorney for the Pentagon explained the redactions, citing three exemptions in the law that protect privacy, “sensitive information of foreign governments” and “privileged” records generated during the “deliberative process.”

Some Democratic members of Congress also objected to the redactions, suggesting that the White House was hiding something.

“The Center for Public Integrity sued in federal court for documents related to the Ukraine scandal, and this is what they got,” said Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Sparks fly as House Judiciary debates impeachment articles Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Five questions looming over impeachment MORE (D-Texas), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which on Friday passed two articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE. “They won in court, but what they got were heavily redacted documents. Why? Because the president doesn’t want these documents to see the light of day.”

“The courts continue to rule in favor of transparency, and I hope the judge will do so again,” added House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA Lawmakers strike spending deal to avert shutdown Vulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote MORE (D-Md.). “No one is above the law, not even this president, and Congress will continue to uphold the rule of law and its duty to conduct oversight.”

The holdup of the nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine is at the heart of the House’s current impeachment investigation into Trump, with Democrats and a handful of witnesses alleging that it was leveraged to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: ‘What is Trump hiding?’ Democrat representing Pennsylvania district Trump carried plans to vote to impeach MORE, one of Trump’s chief political rivals, and 2016 election meddling.

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