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GAO: OMB Broke Law By Withholding Ukraine Aid

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has concluded that the Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld funds appropriated to the Defense Department for security assistance to Ukraine to further the President's policy goals. 

That blocking of funds is at the heart of the impeachment articles on which Trump will be tried in the Senate next week. 

Related: Rep. Schiff Officially Presents Articles of Trump Impeachment

"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own 

policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law," said the OMB report "OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA."

"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law," GAO said. 

OMB argued that a "policy development process" is a fundamental part of implementing a program, but GAO wasn't buying it. "We conclude that OMB violated the ICA when it withheld USAI funds for a policy reason." 

And it is the President's obligation to make sure such funds are released in a timely manner. "[U]nless Congress has enacted a law providing otherwise, the President must take care to ensure that appropriations are prudently obligated during their period of availability," it said. 

Look for Democratic impeachment managers to use the report as further support for the abuse of power article against the President.