2 budget officials allegedly resigned over handling of Ukraine aid freeze
The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry released the remaining transcripts from their closed-door depositions on Tuesday.
Driving the news: Mark Sandy, a career official in the White House Office of Management and Budget, testified that he was told in a July 12 email that President Trump "is directing a hold on military support funding for Ukraine," but that he was not given a reason for the hold until early September. He also claimed that two staffers — one in OMB's legal division — resigned at least in part over the hold on Ukraine security assistance.
- State Department official Philip Reeker testified that there was an "understanding" that Rudy Giuliani was feeding Trump a lot of "negative information" about Ukraine.
- Reeker added that the State Department declined to issue a statement of support for ousted Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who he said was subjected to "outrageous smears."
- Sandy testified he was told on June 19 that Trump had raised questions about the security assistance after reading an unspecified media report.
- OMB began the official process of withholding aid to Ukraine on July 25, the same day Trump held a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and asked him to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election.
- Sandy said that despite numerous requests, he did not receive a reason for withholding Ukraine's aid until early September, at which point he was told Trump had concerns that other countries gave insufficient aid compared to the U.S.
- Sandy testified that he had raised concerns about whether the freeze violated the Impoundment Control Act, and he was later removed from the process by a political appointee, Mike Duffey, on July 30. Duffey told him it was due to "interest among the leadership in tracking the issues of moneys closely."
- On Aug. 7, an interagency memo to acting OMB director Russell Vought recommended lifting the hold based on policy arguments about the aid being consistent with the U.S.' national security strategy.