New transcripts released Tuesday show that two officials in the White House Office of Management and Budget resigned over Donald Trump’s decision to withhold military aid for Ukraine as part of his bribery scheme.
Rachel Maddow, citing testimony from Mark Sandy, pointed out that the reason behind at least one of those resignations is that the official believed Trump was violating the Impoundment Control Act.
“Congress appropriated these military funds for Ukraine. That meant the White House was legally obligated to disperse those funds, right?” Maddow explained. “But the president ordered the White House to not do that. The president ordered that the funding should be held up.”
In other words, Trump violated the law, and even the folks working in his White House recognized that.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) November 27, 2019
Impoundment Control Act is not something that, you know, rolls trippingly off the tongue. It’s not something we talk about here, but it’s a basic idea. Congress appropriated these military funds for Ukraine. That meant the White House was legally obligated to disperse those funds, right? Congress appropriates the money, White House is legally obligated to disperse them. But the president ordered the White House to not do that. The president ordered that the funding should be held up. And now we know as of tonight that two people, including one in the legal office at OMB, resigned over that. One person resigned from OMB because of, according to this witness, not understanding the reason for the hold that President Trump put on those funds for Ukraine. Another person apparently resigned from the legal office at OMB because of the prospect that what the president ordered – the holding up of those funds – could have been illegal.
Trump directed the funding freeze and his own officials knew he was breaking the law
There is this idea being pushed by the president and his loyal defenders in Congress that the impeachment inquiry is being driven by two groups of people: so-called “deep state” spies trying to overthrow him and Democrats who have been trying to impeach him since day one.
The more we learn about Trump’s Ukraine scheme, however, the more obvious it is that it was the people inside the White House who spurred the process that the president now calls a “coup.”
Donald Trump will continue to characterize the impeachment inquiry as a partisan conspiracy against him, but it’s crystal clear what actually happened: He withheld Ukraine military assistance for political purposes, his own people knew he was breaking the law, and they sounded the alarm.