January 16 (UPI) – The Trump administration violated the law when it denied Ukrainian military aid approved by Congress last year, the Government Accountability Office said in a report on Thursday.
The eight-page report said the White House budget office violated the federal law on security controls when it withheld $ 214 million for Kiev – that was the focus of the Senate impeachment process against President Donald Trump.
The executive is legally prohibited from withholding or confiscating funds used by Congress for the stated purpose unless there is a compelling reason the government has failed to provide, Trump said.
Responsibility for justifying the retention of funds “rests with the executive,” said the GAO.
“Here (the Office for Administration and Budget) did not cover this burden. We come to the conclusion that the OMB violated the (law) for political reasons when it withheld the funds.”
Senior White House officials informed House investigators last year that Trump had ordered the aid withheld in July. At the same time, he urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce that Kiev was investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, a former board member of a Ukrainian gas company.
The administration finally released the help. An impeachment case against Trump for abuse of power alleges that he withheld the aid to pressure Ukraine to find a political rival.
Trump’s impeachment process in the Senate is expected to begin next week.