"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law", the opinion said. The withholding was not a programmatic delay. "Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA", the GAO said.
Trump had placed a hold on a total of $391 million of security assistance to Ukraine and has provided various reasons for doing so - including that European allies have not contributed enough to Ukraine's security or that he was concerned the money would be well-spent and not used for corruption. The Senate is set to begin its trial on Thursday. "OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the president's priorities and with the law".
The White House budget office notified federal agencies that the Ukraine aid was being withheld at the direction of the President on July 18, 2019, according to testimony from the House's impeachment inquiry. He is still officially the OMB director. In this case, the withheld aid was already released in September. But the GAO rejected that argument.
Between the GAO, OMB, and the ICA, that's a whole lot of relatively obscure three-letter acronyms, so let's take a step back and take stock of the law and this investigation.
Congress passed legislation appropriating the financial assistance to Ukraine past year as a way to provide a much-needed boost to the country's national security efforts amid a deadly military conflict with Russian Federation that began in 2014.
Trump has always maintained he's done nothing illegal.
This is a breaking news story.