A Washington, D.C. federal judge just ruled that the State Department must release its emails to and from President Trump’s personal lawyer within thirty days to a nonprofit watchdog group.
American Oversight filed suit against the State Department on October 1st after the State Department denied their Freedom of Information Act request for communications between Rudy Giuliani and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The contents of these messages are expected to provide more clarity on the Secretary’s alleged secret diplomatic back-channel that has become central to the President’s shakedown of Ukraine’s president for political help against Vice President Joe Biden.
Multiple committees of the House of Representatives have subpoenaed some of the same records in their ongoing impeachment inquiry, only to be stonewalled by Secretary Pompeo, who should’ve produced the emails and correspondence two and a half weeks ago.
In the end, it only took twenty-two days for American Oversight to defeat the State Department’s stonewall tactics in court. CNN reports:
In response to an emergency motion from the watchdog group American Oversight, Judge Christopher Cooper ordered lawyers for the group and the State Department to come together to narrow the scope of the documents in the request — eliminating those that would likely be exempt from release — and produce documents in the next 30 days.Cooper said that he could not think of a third party exemption that would prevent the release of correspondence between Giuliani and top State Department officials regarding Ukraine.
Crucially, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the New York Daily News earlier this month that he was in direct contact with Pompeo in March, which meant that records do exist.
Three weeks ago, the Inspector General for the State Department called a series of emergency meetings with Congress to divulge some of the records Giuliani delivered to their agency.
“This is an important victory for the American people’s right to know the facts about Ukraine, and it is a major setback for the White House’s stonewalling,” says Austin Evers, the executive director of American Oversight in a written statement.
Evers told CNN that Rudy Giuliani’s status as a non-employee was key to getting a court order to produce the documents.
A spokesman for American Oversight says that their concern is that the public needs to get the full truth about Ukraine and the president’s apparent abuse of power.
“This is one of three lawsuits and fifty total FOIA requests that we have filed so far,” says American Oversight’s Clark Pettig, “in order to uncover the paper trail of the President’s contacts about Ukraine, and we’re going to keep pursuing this.”
Soon, the public stands to learn the real reasons why Secretary Pompeo is so tight-lipped about his involvement in the Ukraine scandal and contacts with Rudy Giuliani that touched off an impeachment inquiry into the President.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.