During the House's impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump last year, Republicans challenged Democrats to find a law that Trump broke by withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine, pressuring the country's officials to open an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Some House Democrats insisted that Trump violated the Impoundment Control Act, a 1974 law limiting the President's ability to withhold funds already allocated by Congress.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the highest audit institution of the U.S. federal government, just took those Democrats' side.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told GAO that the aid to Ukraine was withheld to make sure that the transaction was congruent with the President's policy initiative.
That didn't sit well with the Government Accountability Office:
"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. The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA."
The OMB disagreed with GAO's findings, but CNN legal analyst Elie Honig gave this disagreement some necessary context.
GAO (Government Accoutability Office) is a non-partisan watchdog - essentially a pesky, dogged accountant that does… https://t.co/uPYQy0X7I1— Elie Honig (@Elie Honig)1579189085.0
The findings added even more pressure on Senators to conduct a fair impeachment trial instead of one designed to benefit Donald Trump.
Speaking about the GAO report on how Trump withheld funds to Ukraine, @SpeakerPelosi says, "The OMB, the White Hous… https://t.co/GUgUNtU7fe— Oliver Willis (@Oliver Willis)1579190980.0
Between the Parnas interview and the GAO report making clear that the president broke the law, it’s more important… https://t.co/05piiiH3TW— Rep. Andy Levin (@Rep. Andy Levin)1579190687.0
This bombshell legal opinion from the independent @USGAO demonstrates, without a doubt, that the Trump Administrati… https://t.co/4BQavGNwIu— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@Senator Chris Van Hollen)1579186256.0
@USGAO @LauraWalkerKC If only there was someone who could do something about this President's persistent violations of the law.— ml8_ml8 (@ml8_ml8)1579188475.0
I know the spins will continue, but how can any member of the Senate ignore or brush off this opinion by the GAO du… https://t.co/T70xr32eLq— Matt Ernandes (@Matt Ernandes)1579189489.0
Presidential oath of office: "I do solemnly swear that I will FAITHFULLY EXECUTE the Office of President" "Faithfu… https://t.co/oyTGrpqt70— Chris Lu (@Chris Lu)1579190149.0
Sen. Chris Van Hollen: "This violation of the law reflects a contempt for the Constitution ... The GAO's independen… https://t.co/XC4NH5EsHE— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin)1579187731.0
Government Accountability Office concludes that #Trump violated law by freezing aid to #Ukraine. Seems like big fin… https://t.co/ntSihwcbC0— Brian Kaylor (@Brian Kaylor)1579188900.0
Senators will today take an oath of impartiality before the trial of Donald Trump begins.
Let's hope they keep it.