Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that Trump administration officials over the summer scrambled to come up with a legal justification for holding up military aid to Ukraine after President Donald Trump had already ordered it frozen.
The story harms the White House's defenses in the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry, as it shows that the president decided to cut off aid to Ukraine without any consideration as to whether the action was legal, while also showing that the Trump White House had no official rationale to justify the president's actions.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman says that warring factions within the Trump White House are now pointing fingers at one another over the leaks, as allies of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone are now feuding over who is responsible.
"This story about the ongoing review re the Ukraine issue, first reported by the Post, has people close to Mulvaney and people close to Cipollone blaming the other camp for it getting out, in a situation that doesn’t seem sustainable through election year," Haberman writes on Twitter.
The holdup of aid, which came at the same time Trump was pressing the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, is a central event in House impeachment hearings in which Democrats have accused the president of extorting an ally in exchange for digging up dirt on a potential 2020 rival.
This story about the ongoing review re the Ukraine issue, first reported by the Post, has people close to Mulvaney… https://t.co/pnddaRmAa5— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1574692236.0