Watchdog: White House violated law in freezing Ukraine aid

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The Trump administration violated federal law past year by withholding security aid for Ukraine that had been appropriated by Congress, a USA congressional watchdog said in a report released on Thursday. "The law does not permit OMB to withhold funds for policy reasons".

The damning report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says it "issued a legal decision concluding that the Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld approximately US$214 million appropriated to DOD (Department of Defense) for security assistance to Ukraine".

Congress' official legal branch has determined that President Trump broke the law by withholding military assistance from Ukraine after Congress approved the money - fueling Democrats' argument that the president should be impeached for his actions.

Fox News' Kevin Corke reports on the latest news on the Trump impeachment battle.

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Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) asked the Government Accountability Office - a non-partisan watchdog agency that conducts audits and investigations for Congress - to determine whether the Trump administration did, in fact, break the law. The Senate is set to begin its trial on Thursday. In this case, the withheld aid was already released in September.

The White House budget office told the GAO that the money was withheld because they were reviewing the programs, meaning the delay wasn't subject to the Impoundment Control Act. "OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President's priorities and with the law", said OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel. Paoletta wrote in a December letter to the GAO that the hold was a "programmatic delay", and thus, Congress did not require prior notice of the move.

Trump has always maintained he's done nothing illegal.

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