On Thursday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report concluding that President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) violated federal law by refusing to render the funds for Ukrainian military sales that were approved by Congress:
This bombshell legal opinion from the independent @USGAO demonstrates, without a doubt, that the Trump Administration illegally withheld assistance from Ukraine and the public evidence shows that the president himself ordered this illegal act. pic.twitter.com/bkwyQ4Vk3K
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) January 16, 2020
At issue is a federal law known as the Impoundment Control Act, which requires executive agencies to spend money that Congress has appropriated. The GAO report concludes that the OMB “withheld funds for a policy reason,” which is not a legal reason to do so.
“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 GAO said.
Trump and his associates attempted to use the delay in military funds to coerce Ukraine’s president into issuing a public statement that his country was “investigating” former Vice President Joe Biden’s family — a scheme that has formed the basis of his impeachment.