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Sat Nov 16, 2019, 06:16 PM

Impeachment Investigators Question Budget Official About Withheld Aid

Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators met for a rare weekend session on Saturday to privately question a senior official from the White House budget office about President Trump’s decision this summer to freeze $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine.

Why precisely Mr. Trump withheld the congressionally allocated funding in mid-July as he pressed Ukraine for politically beneficial investigations and what his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, told the agency about the decision remain central unanswered questions in the inquiry.

Democrats leading the proceedings had hoped that the budget official, Mark Sandy, could at least offer a glimpse into deliberations at the Office of Management and Budget over carrying out the order. In the end, Mr. Sandy told investigators that he did not know why the military assistance had been delayed but that he had never encountered a similar situation in his time at the agency, according to two people familiar with his testimony.

As soon as the interview with Mr. Sandy concluded, Democrats released transcripts of two more witness interviews that took place in recent weeks. They included Timothy Morrison, the senior director for Europe and Russia for the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a longtime State Department employee with expertise in Europe and Russia who is detailed to Vice President Mike Pence’s national security staff.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/16/us/politics/impeachment-trump.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

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Reply Impeachment Investigators Question Budget Official About Withheld Aid (Original post)
brooklynite Nov 16 OP
choie Nov 16 #1
gab13by13 Nov 16 #2
DeminPennswoods Nov 16 #3
BumRushDaShow Nov 17 #5
DeminPennswoods Nov 18 #6
BumRushDaShow Nov 18 #7
Smith Jack Nov 17 #4

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2019, 06:34 PM

1. this is a curious paragraph:

"Why precisely Mr. Trump withheld the congressionally allocated funding in mid-July as he pressed Ukraine for politically beneficial investigations and what his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, told the agency about the decision remain central unanswered questions in the inquiry." -

Doesn't it answer its own question? Trump withheld the funding to pressure Ukraine to start politically beneficial investigations. Hello?

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Response to choie (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 16, 2019, 08:11 PM

2. Yup,

Mulvaney stated right on TV why the aid was withheld, bribery.

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Response to choie (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 16, 2019, 08:21 PM

3. Evidently Sandy is the #3 guy at OMB

There's only two people above him who could have ordered the money to be withheld, Mulvaney's one. I also heard it reported that Sandy testified he was at least partially by-passed in the process.

My experience with DoD accounting is that there are codes that explain every decision in every budget transaction. I'll bet there's a code on the actual transaction that withheld the money.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 17, 2019, 10:42 AM

5. I think the other person was

Michael Duffey, who was an appointee right under Mulvaney and who supposedly was the one who bypassed Sandy.

And based on what I've seen at my agency, I would think it wouldn't have needed to have been that complex beyond not obligating the funds in whatever procurement system they were using and including some bogus justification like "under review". As long those funds were viable for the fiscal year, they could just keep from obligating/spending them... to the point of almost losing them, like what actually happened in this case (which as I understand, caused a panic because it was just a couple weeks before the end of the FY and those funds would have had to have been returned to the Treasury if they didn't get contracts signed/counter-signed in time and usually vendors are well aware of the EOY spend insanity, so they make themselves available).

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 07:39 AM

6. Nothing in the federal govt compares

to the end of FY rush to spend 100% of appropriated money lest there be less money appropriated for next FY.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 09:49 AM

7. OMG yup.



We were always told that we could only "spend" 25% per quarter and since it is difficult to do that when there was always a delay in the apportionment (and often even the appropriations when there was an extended CR, where we could only spend "1/12th" of what was allocated as the equivalent of the previous year's amount), so we would be well through the 2nd quarter before some semblance of normalcy happened to start getting stuff bought... leaving quite a bit left by 4th quarter.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2019, 01:47 AM

4. Sondland communicated with Ukraine via WhatsApp, Pompeo won't release communications

 

These communications need to be subpoenaed!

Sondland communicated with Ukrainians via WhatApp and he gave the State Department all his communications.
POMPEO refuses to give them to Congress!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sondland-discussed-sensitive-matters-with-trump-on-phone-from-kyiv-restaurant-as-waiters-circled/2019/11/16/9c651cbc-08b3-11ea-b388-434b5c1d7dd8_story.html

Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.“Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions,” The Post reported.“Most of those messages haven’t been made public or handed over to the House impeachment inquiry. The messages by Sondland that have been released are those in which he was communicating in a three-way conversation with Yermak and former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker. Volker, who stepped down from the post after a whistleblower complaint from a CIA analyst triggered the impeachment probe, turned those communications over to the committees leading the inquiry,” “The chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees subpoenaed communications and documents from Sondland as the inquiry got underway, and Sondland turned over communications from his personal devices to the State Department. But according to a statement by the committee chairmen in October, the State Department withheld them from the impeachment inquiry, defying a subpoena the committees issued to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,”

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