- The Washington Times
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The State Department has 30 days to release documents related to the administration’s actions on Ukraine, including communications between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper issued the ruling in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by American Oversight, a left-leaning government watchdog organization.

The judge said lawyers for the group and State Department must meet to narrow the scope of the document request and publicly release those documents in 30 days.

Judge Cooper said he could not think of a third-party exception that would block the release of communications between Mr. Giuliani and State Department officials.

The government said it does not know how many records could be released because of the ruling. Officials said there are thousands of documents referencing Mr. Giuliani and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled earlier this year, but some of those could be duplicates.

American Oversight filed the lawsuit earlier this month. Austin Evers, the group’s executive director, described Judge Cooper’s ruling as “a crack in the administration’s stone wall.”

“His emails, text messages — which he showed on TV — are going to be subject to public disclosure with limited redactions,” Mr. Evers told reporters after the hearing. “It’s possible that this administration will jump through some legal hoops to try to withhold them, but we have the court today urging the parties to focus on those communications as top priority.”

The ruling comes on the same day House Democrats upped their demand for State Department documents.

The chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, which are spearheading the impeachment inquiry, are looking to obtain key documents, including text messages from witnesses and memos regarding Ukraine.

“These documents include information central to the inquiry’s core area of investigation: the President’s efforts to press Ukraine to initiate investigations that would benefit his personal and political interest, not the national interests,” the chairmen wrote.

Gabriella Munoz contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire-service reports.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.