Updated Nov 26, 2019

2 budget officials allegedly resigned over handling of Ukraine aid freeze

Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

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."

More highlights:

  • 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.

Read Mark Sandy's deposition.

Read Philip Reeker's deposition.

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