The Government Accountability Office is a government agency that audits and investigates government entities on behalf of the United States Congress. It is non-partisan. Yesterday it issued a report about the withholding of the Ukrainian money that is at the center of the articles of impeachment pending before the Senate. The Senate is scheduled to start the trial of Donald J. Trump on Tuesday.
The GAO legal opinion looking into $214 million withheld from the Ukraine found that Donald J. Trump broke the law in withholding the money.
The $214 million was allocated by Congress to the Department of Defense for security assistance to the Ukraine to help it against its war with Russia. The White House withheld the congressional funds last year. In total, the Trump administration withheld $400 million in security aid to the Ukraine. The GAO report addresses the $214 million allocated through the Defense Department. The GAO legal opinion states that there are questions about the money allocated through the State Department and that it is investigating whether the withholding of that money was proper.
The GAO opinion states, “faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law”. The report concluded that the OMB, on behalf of Trump, “violated” the Impoundment Control Act.
The OMB stated in its response to the report that it “disagreed” with the findings of the GAO report.
The Ukrainian aid was later released after a whistleblower complaint, which is the basis of the pending impeachment articles, was publicly acknowledged.
On Tuesday, the next step in the impeachment saga begins as the Senate trial begins to have hearings.
Link to GAO document is here.