White House urged diplomats to stay quiet about withheld aid to Ukraine: 'Nothing to see here'
US President Donald Trump, embroiled in a scandal over his communications with Ukraine, is facing growing calls from opposition Democrats for impeachment proceedings to be launched against him AFP / SAUL LOEB

As Democrats proceed with impeachment, there are explosive new revelations almost daily related to President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that top diplomats were instructed to keep quiet about the temporary freeze on the $141 million package of aid to Ukraine.

“Keep moving, people, nothing to see here,” Brad Freden, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary of Europe and Eurasia, said in an email.

The hold appears to have frustrated State Department officials. "We realize the strain this puts on posts and your ability to conclude grants and carry out programs,” Jim Kulikowski, the State Department’s regional assistance coordinator, wrote in an Aug. 5 email obtained by the Times.

“We currently await further guidance and will provide you with an update as soon as we know about next steps,” Kulikowski added. The email was sent to dozens of State Department employees, including diplomats in Kiev and in countries across Eastern Europe.

Chatter among diplomats revealed deep concern in Ukraine about Russian aggression. The controversy is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, as lawmakers investigate whether Trump suggested a quid pro quo in which the government of Ukraine would find dirt on his political rival Joe Biden.