White House Broke the Law by Freezing Ukraine Aid, Says U.S. Govt Watchdog

U.S. Government Accountability Office says, 'Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law'

US President Donald Trump makes a statement on Iran at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida, on January 3, 2020
AFP

The Trump administration violated federal law last year by withholding security aid for Ukraine that had been appropriated by Congress, a U.S. congressional watchdog said in a report released on Thursday.

"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA)," the U.S. Government Accountability Office said, referring to the Office of Management and Budget. "The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA." 

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., tweeted that the ruling by the government watchdog demonstrates "without a doubt" that "the president himself ordered this illegal act."