Foreign Policy

Government Watchdog Says Trump Broke The Law

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

This is not necessarily new information as we already know the Trump regime was playing fast and loose with the law, but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) now says Trump did break federal law when he withheld aid from Ukraine.

Trump's scheme to extort Ukraine in exchange for damaging material on Democratic presidential primary frontrunner Joe Biden violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 according to the GAO.

From NPR:

The Office of Management and Budget blocked the Defense Department from spending money designated by Congress on July 25, "pending a policy decision," according to OMB General Counsel Mark Paoletta. That hold was lifted on September 12.

But a 1974 law that governs budget procedure within the government "does not permit OMB to withhold funds for policy reasons," said Thomas Armstrong, general counsel for the GAO. [...]

The law further designates the ways in which Congress has the power of the purse. Under the Impoundment Control Act, it is illegal for OMB to withhold money that has been appropriated by Congress and signed into law.

If the White House wants to delay or deny funds, it must first alert Congress.

Unfortunately, Senate Republicans will ensure that the only way Trump can be held accountable for this or anything else he's done is by voting him out of office later this year.

For now, I think the we best we can hope for is that exposing Trump's actions and those of his cronies will have the effect of blunting their schemes ahead of the vote in November. Everything from Trump's impeachment to reports like this one will hinder their ability to carry out their plans but, importantly, it will limit the impact of anything they come up with and leak or deliver to the press.

Our political press ran away with every single drip and drop of nonsense about Hillary Clinton in the years leading up to the 2016 election, but we haven't seen anything quite like that in the current cycle. Early, vague reports about the Biden family's business faded from the headlines relatively quickly once it was understood what the goal of those reports was.

The other elephant in the room is the fact that Hillary Clinton had always been treated differently and with lot of contempt because she is a capable woman and her last name is Clinton. The tone of coverage in 2020 will also be different for that reason alone before factoring Trump's impeachment or the ongoing exposure of his schemes.

  • katanahamon

    I’m starting to feel like all of us Dems are Fox Mulder, the conspiracies against us being too vast and numerous to maintain treading water against. Look at how certain well qualified candidates are already out, yet media outlets purport Bernie to be in such a great position..? He’s already had a heart attack, and quite frankly, doesn’t look too far away from another one. Yet, no comment. Now Warren is “a hysterical woman” after the debate. And Joe Biden? Really? That’s the best we can come up with? I’d take Warren any day, but I’m afraid she’s gotten the bum’s rush already. How can America allow an impeached president to be re-elected? Arg..how depressing. Did ya see McSally calling a reporter a “liberal hack” to avoid a question? This is now ok for senators to act like Rump?

  • muselet

    “I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here!”

    The cynic in me says the position of Comptroller General of the United States (who heads the GAO) will be eliminated in Donald Trump’s next proposed budget.

    As for the campaign, it’s early days yet. Our glorious news media seem to have the long-term memory of a goldfish, so no matter how well they’re behaving now with regard to Trump’s endless stream of lies, by July they’ll be breathlessly repeating every bit of poo the Rs have flung and running endless thumb-suckers on questions raised! and shadows cast!

    It probably won’t be as bad as 2016, but there was that time in 2004 when whoever the D nominee is this time had lunch with Hillary Clinton and that’s exactly as bad as attempting to extort a foreign nation and being impeached!

    And that doesn’t even account for the effect Righty media has on mainstream reporting (“Breitbart is saying Joe Biden shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. We need to follow up on that, in case they’re right for the first time ever.”).

    Sorry, I seem to be in an even grouchier mood than usual, for some reason.

    –alopecia

    • Georgie
      • muselet

        Oy gevalt.

        –alopecia

      • God that “Democrat” thing really steams me. Even though I know that’s the whole reason they use it incorrectly, it works on me. It’s soooo douchy.

        • MadJuana

          The Rs constitute an entire party of douche bags.

    • katanahamon

      Yeah, me too. Grouch, that is. Rump is lying, and lying, and lying, yet the media is busy reporting Warren and Bernie feuding..terrific sense of priorities…