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.
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.