Trump before boarding Air Force One on Nov. 9, 2019. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

State Department lawyers found President Trump and the White House Office of Management and Budget had no legal ground to block the department sending military aid to Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.

What's happening: The State Department "quietly authorized releasing $141 million" of the approximately $400 million withheld by the White House several days before Sept. 11 — the date Trump says he released the funds, per Bloomberg.

  • The White House hold on funds "provoked consternation, if not panic, at the State and Defense Departments," Bloomberg reports — "because the law required them to spend the money by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 or lose it."

The other side: “At no point was this pause inappropriate, let alone illegal,” OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel told Bloomberg in an email Saturday.

Why it matters: House impeachment committee members and several witnesses have accused Trump of withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to announce investigations into the origins of the Russia probe and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

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The CIA's new license to cyberattack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2018 President Trump granted the Central Intelligence Agency expansive legal authorities to carry out covert actions in cyberspace, providing the agency with powers it has sought since the George W. Bush administration, former U.S. officials directly familiar with the matter told Yahoo News.

Why it matters: The CIA has conducted disruptive covert cyber operations against Iran and Russia since the signing of this presidential finding, said former officials.

2 hours ago - Technology

Tech hits the brakes on office reopenings

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech was the first industry to send its workers home when COVID-19 first hit the U.S., and it has been among the most cautious in bringing workers back. Even still, many companies are realizing that their reopening plans from as recently as a few weeks ago are now too optimistic.

Why it matters: Crafting reopening plans gave tech firms a chance to bolster their leadership and model the beginnings of a path back to normalcy for other office workers. Their decision to pause those plans is the latest sign that normalcy is likely to remain elusive in the U.S.

The existential threat to small business

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the game for U.S. businesses, pushing forward years-long shifts in workplaces, technology and buying habits and forcing small businesses to fight just to survive.

Why it matters: These changes are providing an almost insurmountable advantage to big companies, which are positioned to come out of the recession stronger and with greater market share than ever.