When the probe was developed, The New York Times searched for Blair-Duffey emails under the Freedom of Information Act, which filed a lawsuit in November last year after it did not receive the requested messages. In May, Jackson ordered that the disputed emails be handed over to her for camera review.
During a conference call Monday in which she announced her decision, Jackson did not rule out the possibility that she could ever uphold the government’s bid for e-mail confidentiality, but she said a couple of statements were made by OMB’s Deputy CEO Heather Walsh to back up the claims. on the executive privilege was too vague.
The judge said Walsh̵
“The explanations are based on unauthorized hearing and not personal knowledge. “The explanations do not come close here,” Jackson said. In summary, the explanation seems to be largely based on Blair’s job, the location of his office and what assistants to the president in general “often” do. … It simply can not do it. “
Walsh said in his post that emails reflected an ongoing exchange of “scope, duration and purpose” to keep support for Ukraine, but the judge seemed to agree with the Times’ argument that the messages reflected aid workers trying to implement decisions that had already been made.
“It’s weird that you can decide on the purpose of something you’ve already done after you did it,” said Jackson, a nominee for President Barack Obama.
The Times also claims that the privileges were revoked by testimony given by an OMB official to the House Intelligence Committee and that the privileges cannot be invoked to conceal misconduct. Jackson declined to comment on these issues on Monday.
It is still unclear whether the disputed messages will appear before the November election. Jackson gave attorneys from the Justice Department until Thursday to suggest how much time they need to prepare a more detailed justification for the privileges or decide to simply drop emails. A government lawyer said she would probably propose a date in late September for further submission to court.
If the judge agrees with that timeline and the Trump administration decides to continue the legal battle, the chances of being forced to open emails before the election appear slim. Even if Jackson were to order the release of the messages, the Department of Justice could appeal, which is virtually certain to result in the record remaining under wraps for months or longer.
Some other collections of emails about Ukraine’s assistance have been released in edited form in response to other litigation or leaked to outsiders.
Current positions in the White House cannot be requested directly under FOIA, but transparency legislation applies to federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and certain parts of the President’s Executive Office, including the Office of Administration and Budget.