Donald Trump
President Donald J. Trump Photo credit: The White House / Flickr

A legal decision issued by the Government Accountability Office on Thursday found that President Donald Trump’s White House acted illegally when it withheld aid to Ukraine. The finding comes at the onset of Trump’s impeachment trial and deals a blow to his defense that keeping the military assistance from Ukraine was an appropriate policy tool.

On the eve of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dealt the president a harsh blow. 

GAO, often referred to as the “congressional watchdog,” issued a significant legal decision on Thursday morning that said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget “violated the law when it withheld approximately $214 million appropriated to DOD for security assistance to Ukraine.”

Trump’s team has maintained that withholding the aid was entirely appropriate. GAO clearly feels otherwise.

“The president has narrow, limited authority to withhold appropriations under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974,” GAO said in a statement accompanying the legal decision. 

“OMB told GAO that it withheld the funds to ensure that they were not spent ‘in a manner that could conflict with the President’s foreign policy.’ The law does not permit OMB to withhold funds for policy reasons.”

You can find the text of the decision here.


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