Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, November 10, 2019

President Donald Trump says he lifted his freeze on aid to Ukraine on Sept. 11, but the State Department had quietly authorized releasing $141 million of the money several days earlier, according to five people familiar with the matter.

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The State Department decision, which hasn't been reported previously, stemmed from a legal finding made earlier in the year, and conveyed in a classified memorandum to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. State Department lawyers found the White House Office of Management and Budget, and thus the president, had no legal standing to block spending of the Ukraine aid.

The OMB has argued all along that the congressional notification by the State Department was only one step and it still had the power to hold the money after it was sent because of its authority to apportion -- or distribute -- the funds. "At no point was this pause inappropriate, let alone illegal," OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel said Saturday in an email.

But the State Department disagreed. Taylor, the envoy to Ukraine, said in his testimony that it was remarkable that the legal offices at the State and Defense departments had decided "they were going to move forward with this assistance anyway, OMB notwithstanding."

The hold on funds provoked consternation, if not panic, at the State and Defense Departments because the law required them to spend the money by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 or lose it. In reality, they had to get the aid moving through the system two weeks earlier -- around Sept. 15 -- because of a requirement for a two-week notification to Congress.

So this explains what Bolton allegedly might have to say when testifying before the impeachment inquiry committee.
Shortly before Sept. 9, Bolton had relayed a message to the State Department that the funding could go ahead. It's not clear whether Bolton, who resigned from the job a week later, did so with Trump's approval. Bolton's handling of the funding struck officials in the White House as violating protocol and caught Mulvaney by surprise, according to another person familiar with the matter.
According to the State Department's attorneys neither OMB nor the White House had any legal right to halt the aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress.

And the larger takeaway is that Trump was again lying when he claimed to have "released" the funds to Ukraine on 9/11 when the reality was the State Department authorized their release days before Trump made his butt-covering claim. So the "I released it" canard is laid bare as nothing more than another whopper from our Liar and Thief currently sullying the Oval Office.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-11-10 09:47 AM | Reply

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