Judge Orders State Department To Release Ukraine Documents

The judge ordered the State Department to begin producing the documents ​requested by watchdog group American Oversight within 30 days.

Judge Orders State Department To Release Ukraine Documents
Getty Images

A federal judge has ordered the State Department to release documents related to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.

The judge ruled Wednesday in favor of American Oversight, an ethics watchdog group that filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department last week. The organization asked the State Department for records related to President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani's efforts "to pressure the Ukrainian government to open a politically motivated investigation, as well as for records related to the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch."

The judge agreed with American Oversight's argument that the records were "of immense public importance," and said the State Department needs to begin producing the documents within 30 days. He also advised the watchdog group to work with the government to identify which documents can be released.

The ruling comes weeks into House Democrats' formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump following a whistleblower complaint that accused him of pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Despite the White House formally refusing to cooperate with the investigation, several former and current administration officials have testified before Congress, including Yovanovitch. The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine claimed in her testimony that she was told there was a months-long "concerted campaign" to fire her over "unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."

American Oversight also filed suit against the Energy Department on Tuesday "for records related to outgoing Secretary Rick Perry’s contacts with Ukrainian officials, as well as those of his successor, Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette."