The U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded on Thursday that the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld military aid from Ukraine.
The non-binding decision came on the day President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial formally began in the U.S. Senate and was widely embraced by the media, who eagerly informed us that the agency was “nonpartisan.”
This being the same media that was far less interested in what the GAO said when the agency decided that former President Barack Obama broke the law.
“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 decision said of the withholding of military aid to Ukraine. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”
The reaction from Democratic Senators was “dramatic,” as one might expect.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland called it a “bombshell landing just as we start the Senate trial,” according to the Washington Examiner. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said that “in 45 years here, I have never seen anything like this.”
Interestingly, the senators also reminded us the GAO was “nonpartisan,” according to the newspaper.
“Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy questioned whether the timing of the GOA report was a coincidence.
“A senior administration official said they are doing this so they can insert themselves into the impeachment when there is so much media attention, because if you look at all the networks … and their coverage of the impeachment trial, they love to hear this. They love to hear [the GAO] have determined that the president violated the law when it withheld that aid to Ukraine,” co-host Ainsley Earhardt said.
“However, the Office of Management and Budget disagree with it,” Earhardt said of the GAO finding. “They say the president has a right to do this.”
From Russ Vought, Acting Director, Office of Management and Budget:
This GAO opinion comes from the same people who said we couldn’t keep National Parks open during the shutdown. Recently GAO flipped its position twice in the last few months. We wouldn’t be surprised if they reverse again. Regardless, the Admin complied with the law at every step
— Russ Vought (@RussVought45) January 16, 2020
For the record, the GAO’s director, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, was nominated by President Obama.
As for Obama breaking the law, the GAO determined in October 2011 that the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy violated two laws in dealings with the People’s Republic of China.
That was just the tip of the iceberg, as Breitbart News detailed seven instances when the Obama administration was found to have run afoul of the law, with the most well-known case being when the Department of Defense was found to have violated the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 and the Antideficiency Act in 2014 when President Obama traded five high-level Taliban detainees for U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl.
A panel on Fox Business Network’s “Kennedy” discussed the GAO findings on Obama and the media reaction.
“Let’s clarify one thing on the GAO, the GAO said Barack Obama broke the law, so the GAO has called presidents before for breaking the law,” Daniel Turner said. “That did not get any press back when President Obama did it, it shouldn’t get any press right now. The GAO has as much authority as I do.”
Political strategist Jason Meister chimed in to say “the liberal mainstream media just jumps” onto stories like this, just as they did with disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti.
“Because they want that to be true,” host Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery interjected.
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