WASHINGTON – The federal government surveillance agency said a White House office broke federal law on Thursday when it refused to provide security assistance to Ukraine.
The Government Accountability Office said in a report that the Office of Management and Budget violated the law while maintaining the grant. Freezing is the focus of President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
The independent agency, which reports to Congress, said that the OMB had violated the Security Control Act by postponing the Ukraine Aid Congress for “political reasons” rather than budgetary reasons.
“Proper implementation of the law does not allow the President to replace Congress’s political priorities with his own,” said Agency’s Advocate General, Thomas Armstrong, in the report.
OMB has argued that the hold is appropriate and necessary.
“We disagree with the GAO’s opinion. The OMB is using its discretionary powers to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent in accordance with the President’s priorities and the law,” said OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel.
Trump was charged last month for abusing his power, pressuring Ukraine to investigate democratic rivals, withholding aid, and hindering the subsequent Congress investigation. The Senate is expected to stand trial on Thursday.
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