The White House budget office asserts in a new legal memo that it withheld military aid to Ukraine as a temporary move to study whether the spending complied with U.S. policy – and not as a political effort to block Congress’s spending decisions.
The office first began discussing the aid on June 19, the day President Trump learned of the aid from an article in the Washington Examiner and questioned the wisdom of the spending. That move sent aides scrambling, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal conversations.
The Office of Management and Budget extended the temporary hold on the aid eight times in August and September, the last time being Sept. 10. Almost immediately after that hold, the money was released, according to the new memo, which was reviewed by The Washington Post.
The memo details the White House’s latest legal rationale for freezing foreign aid to Ukraine over the summer. OMB general counsel Mark Paoletta wrote the memo to respond to a request from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which had asked why the aid had been delayed.