Watchdog: White House violated law in freezing Ukraine aid

5 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:35:15 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
By: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House violated federal law in withholding security assistance to Ukraine, an action at the center of President Donald Trump’s impeachment, a federal watchdog agency said Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office said in a report that the Office of Management and Budget violated the law in holding up the aid, which Congress passed less than a year ago, saying “the President is not vested with the power to ignore or amend any such duly enacted law.”

The aid in question was held up last summer on orders from Trump but was released in September after Congress pushed for its release and a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian leader became public.

The independent agency, which reports to Congress, said OMB violated the Impoundment Control Act in delaying the security assistance Congress authorized for Ukraine for “policy reasons,” rather than technical budgetary needs.

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” wrote the agency’s general counsel, Thomas Armstrong, in the report.

Capitol Hill Democrats seized on the report as evidence of a lawless White House. led by Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who is a key figure in the impeachment investigation of Trump. He is still officially the OMB director.

“The OMB, the White House, the administration broke — I’m saying this — broke the law,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“Congress makes funding decisions, and the Trump Administration’s illegal impoundment of these vital national security funds was a brazen assault on the checks and balances inherent to our democracy,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. “Given that this illegal conduct threatened our security and undermined our elections, I feel even more strongly that the House has chosen the right course by impeaching President Trump. No one is above the law.”

OMB has argued the hold was appropriate and necessary.

“We disagree with GAO’s opinion. OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President’s priorities and with the law,” said OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel.

Trump was impeached last month on charges of abusing his power for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rivals, as he was withholding the aid, and for obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe. The Senate is set to begin its trial on Thursday.

The GAO finding concludes that the White House budget office “withheld the funds for an unauthorized reason in violation” of the Impoundment Control Act, a federal law that requires the executive branch to spend money that is appropriated by Congress.

The impoundment control law is rigorously adhered to by career officials in agency budget offices, who can face severe trouble for violating it.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA- The Columbia City Council is set to vote on a face mask order at their meeting Monday. The... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 6:21:00 AM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Several community members talked about the need to hold each other along with leaders accountable following a double... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, July 05 2020 Jul 5, 2020 Sunday, July 05, 2020 7:31:00 PM CDT July 05, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, July 05 2020 Jul 5, 2020 Sunday, July 05, 2020 6:09:26 PM CDT July 05, 2020 in News
MARIES COUNTY - The Maries County Sheriff's Office recovered human remains near the Gasconade River on Sunday, according to a... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, July 05 2020 Jul 5, 2020 Sunday, July 05, 2020 5:26:00 PM CDT July 05, 2020 in News
MOBERLY - Movie lovers have something to be excited about: some theaters are starting to reopen. The B&B Moberly... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, July 05 2020 Jul 5, 2020 Sunday, July 05, 2020 4:34:00 PM CDT July 05, 2020 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — A one year old boy was killed at about 9:50 a.m. July 4 after being hit by... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, July 05 2020 Jul 5, 2020 Sunday, July 05, 2020 1:37:00 PM CDT July 05, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — The Columbia Public School District released plans for reopening in the fall and said on June 22 that... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, July 05 2020 Jul 5, 2020 Sunday, July 05, 2020 1:00:00 PM CDT July 05, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — UPDATE: In a press conference on Sunday, Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones provided details on an overnight shooting... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, July 05 2020 Jul 5, 2020 Sunday, July 05, 2020 10:57:00 AM CDT July 05, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Democratic Party’s chairwoman is stepping aside until at least September. The Kansas... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 04 2020 Jul 4, 2020 Saturday, July 04, 2020 6:22:27 PM CDT July 04, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Jackson County, Missouri, prosecutor says two brothers have been charged with second-degree murder and... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 04 2020 Jul 4, 2020 Saturday, July 04, 2020 4:29:38 PM CDT July 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Fourth of July is a day which commemorates freedom. But this year’s holiday follows weeks of... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 04 2020 Jul 4, 2020 Saturday, July 04, 2020 3:45:00 PM CDT July 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A rally was held at the Boone County Courthouse Saturday morning in an effort to show support for... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 04 2020 Jul 4, 2020 Saturday, July 04, 2020 3:23:00 PM CDT July 04, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 04 2020 Jul 4, 2020 Saturday, July 04, 2020 10:12:00 AM CDT July 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —As mid-Missouri experiences a rise in coronavirus cases, the Health Department is struggling to keep up with contact tracing.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 03 2020 Jul 3, 2020 Friday, July 03, 2020 6:51:53 PM CDT July 03, 2020 in News
VIENNA — The Historical Society of Maries County is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide "substantial information"... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 03 2020 Jul 3, 2020 Friday, July 03, 2020 6:32:32 PM CDT July 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Four bars within 24 hours may have been exposed to someone who had COVID-19. Boone County Health... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 03 2020 Jul 3, 2020 Friday, July 03, 2020 6:29:00 PM CDT July 03, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - Hundreds of mid-Missourians stocked up on fireworks this week for the Fourth of July. 73-year-old Jim Edwards... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 03 2020 Jul 3, 2020 Friday, July 03, 2020 5:50:00 PM CDT July 03, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
2 days ago Friday, July 03 2020 Jul 3, 2020 Friday, July 03, 2020 5:00:00 PM CDT July 03, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
8am 76°
9am 80°
10am 83°
11am 85°