The fallout from President Donald Trump’s quid pro quo scandal targeting Ukraine is continuing to reverberate. Now, a transcript of testimony delivered as part of the impeachment inquiry has publicly revealed that at least two staffers at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) resigned over frustrations about President Donald Trump’s abrupt delay of military aid that Congress had approved for Ukraine. Trump instituted that delay while he was pressuring Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens. The aid was released only after a whistleblower complaint surfaced that outlined his quid pro quo scheme.
Although the two OMB staffers who resigned over this mess aren’t named in the testimony transcript, their frustration was revealed by the office’s career official Mark Sandy, who currently serves as the deputy associate director for national security programs at OMB. He’s the first OMB official to testify — others, like Mick Mulvaney and Russ Vought, have decided to fight the impeachment inquiry instead. Sandy himself added that he raised his own concerns about the legality of the aid delay and was eventually removed from the administrative process and replaced with political appointees.
One of the staffers who he revealed resigned in apparent disgust worked in the legal office at OMB. Sandy said:
‘I never want to attribute that as the, you know, sole purpose for an individual’s actions, but I am aware of their frustrations in that area, yes.’
‘Sandy said that the “best way to characterize” the legal office staffer’s concern “would be a dissenting opinion vis-a-vis the Impoundment Control Act,” which is a law passed under President Richard Nixon to set restrictions on a president deferring Congressionally-allocated spending funds.’
As for the other staffer, who worked outside of OMB’s legal office, Sandy added:
‘Yes, this individual did express frustrations… He expressed some frustrations about not understanding the reason for the hold.’
Trump and his closest allies have claimed that the president held up the aid because he was simply concerned about corruption in Ukraine, although just to be abundantly clear, he never mentioned supposed corruption that didn’t include his political opponents, whether the Bidens or Democrats at large. In a phone conversation with the Ukrainian president himself — and in the time since in contexts like a Fox News appearance — he’s suggested that Democrats passed a computer server of theirs to a Ukrainian company and thereby hid the real culprit of their email hacks — or something. There is absolutely no evidence for this.
As MSNBC host Chris Hayes noted:
‘Can’t be stressed enough that witholding the aid **was not lawful since it was appropriated by congress and signed by POTUS!** Apparently two people at OMB were disgusted enough with this basic face to resign over it!’
Going on from here, the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing for December 4 about the basis for impeaching the president in the first place. That’s the next stage of the impeachment inquiry following public hearings that the House Intelligence Committee finished up with featuring lots of high-profile witnesses.