A pair of staffers for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) submitted their resignations over the entire Ukraine incident.
The staffers resigned and expressed frustration about the military assistance being held from the Ukraine, which is now the basis for the impeachment inquiry, The Hill reported.
Mark Sandy, an OMB staffer, testified this month that the two staffers, one of whom was in the legal division, had resigned partially due to frustrations with the unexplained aid freeze, according to a transcript of his testimony released Tuesday.
Sandy recalled that one individual who resigned had “expressed some frustrations about not understanding the reason for the hold,” according to the transcript, but he noted that he was “reluctant to speak to someone else’s motivations.”
He was also asked whether the OMB legal division employee said they were leaving “at least in part because of their concerns on frustrations about the hold on Ukraine security assistance.”
“Yes, in terms of that process, in part,” Sandy responded.
The officials were not named in the transcript.
A senior administration official categorized the assertion that the two officials resigned in part over the aid freeze as false in an email to The Hill.
Sandy also testified that he believed President Trump had directed the hold on Ukraine aid.
But, as NBC News reported, Sandy actually does not know the reason the staffers resigned and is essentially only assuming.
“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,” he said.
He said that the “best way to characterize” the staffer’s concerns “would be a dissenting opinion vis-a-vis the Impoundment Control Act,” a reference to the law passed by former President Richard Nixon that sets restrictions on a president deferring Congressionally-allocated funds.
Several witnesses have testified in the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats that there were concerns within the administration whether Trump’s hold on the Ukraine aid might violate this law. Democrats have seized on the aid in their inquiry into President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival.
Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have defended the president by arguing that he acted within his power to withhold military aid to Ukraine because he was concerned about the corruption in the country. This is the first instance a witness has testified that someone within the budget office resigned over frustrations regarding the release of the aid.
Sandy also testified that another staffer, whose name was also undisclosed but did not work OMB’s legal division, also left the agency after expressing concerns about the hold up with the aid.
“Yes, this individual did express frustrations,” Sandy said. “He expressed some frustrations about not understanding the reason for the hold.”
The Pentagon was concerned about the hold as well, Sandy said. While early internal paperwork on the freeze included a footnote that “OMB understands from the Department (of Defense) that this brief pause in obligations will not preclude DOD’s timely execution of the final policy direction,” that footnote was removed in late August, he testified.
“DOD stated it could no longer support that sentence,” he said. “They were concerned about execution risk associated with an ongoing hold.”
But Sandy also testified that it was not a personal issue with former Vice president Joe Biden that held up aid to the Ukraine but the fact that other nations were not contributing what they should have.
“I recall in early September an email that attributed the hold to the President’s concern about other countries not contributing more to Ukraine,” he said.
The entire impeachment inquiry is a sham based on something that did not happen, but that is not going to stop Democrats from continuing their charade.