On Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a letter stating that it had come to the decision that the Trump administration had violated the law by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.
“In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine,” the government watchdog’s letter reads.
“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”
The Government Accountability Office released its findings just hours before senators were scheduled to be sworn in for Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial. Trump was impeached on two charges, abuse of power and obstructing Congress by the House.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen tweeted about the watchdog’s ruling stating that it demonstrates that “without a doubt” that “the president himself ordered this illegal act.”
Shortly after the GAO released its ruling the OMB stated that it disagreed with the decision.
“We disagree with GAO’s opinion,” Rachel Semmel a spokesperson for the OMB said. “OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President’s priorities and with the law.”
A senior administration official told Fox News that they believed the OMB was trying to insert itself into impeachment now because the level of media attention was so high.
“GAO’s findings are a pretty clear overreach as they attempt to insert themselves into the media’s controversy of the day. Further, GAO has a history of the flip-flops, reversing 40-years of precedent this year on their pocket rescission decision, they were also forced to reverse a legally faulty opinion when they opposed the reimbursement of federal employee travel costs. In their rush to insert themselves in the impeachment narrative, maybe they’ll have to reverse their opinion again.”
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