Once again, the Drudge Report issues a headline that portrays President Trump in the worst possible light…
Based on an “opinion” issued by the GAO…
Press statement regarding GAO Decision B-331564, Office of Management and Budget--Withholding of Ukraine Security Assistance
The following is a statement from Thomas H. Armstrong, Esq., General Counsel, U.S. Government Accountability Office, regarding a legal decision issued on January 16, 2020:
“Today, GAO issued a legal decision concluding that the Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld approximately $214 million appropriated to DOD for security assistance to Ukraine. The President has narrow, limited authority to withhold appropriations under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. OMB told GAO that it withheld the funds to ensure that they were not spent “in a manner that could conflict with the President’s foreign policy.” The law does not permit OMB to withhold funds for policy reasons.” The full decision can be found here.
[From the Report Summary]
In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances unavailable for obligation.
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 withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.
[About the GAO]
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, reliable information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.
The GAO is headed by the Comptroller General of the U.S., a professional and non-partisan position in the U.S. government. The comptroller general is appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a 15-year, non-renewable term.
Gene L. Dodaro became the eighth Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on December 22, 2010, when he was confirmed by the United States Senate. He was nominated by President Obama in September of 2010 from a list of candidates selected by a bipartisan, bicameral congressional commission. He had been serving as Acting Comptroller General since March of 2008.
Who asked for this opinion and when did they ask for it?
[From the GAO Report]
On October 30, 2019, Senator Chris Van Hollen asked the Comptroller General about this matter during a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Budget. Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990: Achieving the Vision: Hearing Before the Senate Committee on the Budget, 116th Cong. (2019), (statement of Sen. Van Hollen).
Chris Van Hollen, is a Democrat serving as the junior United States Senator from Maryland since January 3, 2017. From 2003 to 2017 he served as the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 8th congressional district. Van Hollen is deeply partisan and served as the Chair of the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) devoted to defending challenged Democrats in the House and to extending the party’s political reach.
Van Hollen has a history of progressive politics, including the support for Obamacare, gun control, abortion, and has submitted legislation with Senator Susan Collins, a marginal Republican who often is at odds with her Republican colleagues. <Source>
Is this opinion worth anything?
How many people remember when the GAO issued an opinion that the Department of Defense broke the law when the Obama Administration, at the direction of President Barack Obama, released five Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in exchange for the deserter Bowe Bergdahl? No press release. No consequences. No muss, no fuss. If a GAO legal opinion justifies impeachment, Obama should have been impeached.
But, truth be told, the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is prima facie unconstitutional as it would mandate that the President of the United States spend money with a corrupt government for purposes which do not advance the interests, national security, foreign affairs, or economic, of the United States. The Congressional Act is a direct violation of the Constitutional duties of the President.
Like any allegations, this release by an arm of a deeply partisan Congress is only an "opinion" and as such has not been challenged in a court of law nor did it include a statement from the Office of Management and Budget which disputes the opinion nor a statement from the President's Legal Counsel.
Unfortunately, in these trying times, I cannot trust my government, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We have seen government lawyers lie to the Court, dissemble, and knowingly issue false and misleading information. Therefore I can only conclude that legal opinions are like assholes – every lawyer and agency has at least one.
What bothers me the most is the fact that there were serious scandals during both the Clinton and Obama Administrations which led directly to the President, yet there were no special counsels, no investigations as their respective Attorneys-General ran interference on behalf of the President, and certainly no calls for impeachment – all for demonstrable offenses far greater than the spurious charges facing President Trump. The Trump impeachment cites no violation of civil or criminal code, no treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors. The House Democrats have trashed our Constitution and themselves are guilty of abuse of power and, in the case of Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, criminal acts relating to subornation of perjury.
The real bottom line: the Ukraine aid deadline was September 30, 2019 and the aid was actually delivered September 12, 2019 -- no harm, no foul -- and the evidence points to a political hit on the same day the Trump impeachment was signed by Nancy Pelosi, complete with ceremonial pens that looked like a golden bullet, complete with Nancy Pelosi's name. What happened to the solemnity of the occasion?
The only party to collude with the Russians was the Democrat Party.
We are so screwed.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell