Nov 14, 2019

White House budget official will testify if subpoenaed, lawyer says

Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images

Mark Sandy, a White House official working in the Office of Management and Budget, will testify in the impeachment inquiry if served with a subpoena by House investigators, his lawyer Barbara Van Gelder told the Washington Post Thursday.

Why it matters: Sandy would be the first OMB employee to break the White House's blanket non-cooperation policy and could shed light on the motivation behind the Trump administration's decision to freeze nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

  • Unlike OMB acting director Russell Vought and other political appointees in the White House, several of whom have defied congressional subpoenas, Sandy is a career official.
  • The Post reports that he was one of the White House staffers who raised questions about the aid freeze and that he was at one point responsible for signing documents that prevented the funds from going to Ukraine.

Between the lines: Why President Trump froze the security assistance and why he ultimately decided to release it are two of the fundamental questions at the heart of the probe into his alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

  • Republicans have criticized the witnesses called by Democrats, including diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent, for not having firsthand knowledge of Trump's thinking and the events that took place. Sandy could poke a hole in that defense.

Go deeper: Mick Mulvaney will not sue to block impeachment inquiry subpoena

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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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 26, 2019

House panel accuses OMB of "pattern of abuse" with Ukraine aid freeze

House Budget Chair John Yarmuth. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

House Democrats accused the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Tuesday of engaging in a "pattern of abuse" by unlawfully freezing nearly $400 million in Ukraine aid, an allegation now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, Politico reports.

Driving the news: A report released by the House Budget and Appropriations committees outlines a timeline of the aid being withheld, with the first official OMB action to halt the aid coming on the evening of July 25 — hours after President Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019

The state of play on impeachment for Thanksgiving week

Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The shortened Thanksgiving week promises far less public spectacle for the House impeachment inquiry, but it still could see several significant events.

Driving the news: A ruling is expected Monday on whether or not former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify under subpoena in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019