Trump impeachment: White House budget official defies president to testify on withholding Ukraine military aid

Mark Sandy, a senior career official at the Office of Management and Budget, arrives to the US Capitol for a closed door deposition with lawmakers regarding whether Donald Trump ordered a hold on military assistance to Ukraine ( Getty Images )

The White House budget officer has defied Donald Trump’s orders and met with House investigators leading an impeachment inquiry into the president to give evidence about the administration’s withholding of crucial military aid to Ukraine.

Mark Sandy, a career official at the White House Office of Management and Budget, delivered a potentially damning closed-door testimony on Saturday about the timeline and events surrounding the decision to freeze aid.

Mr Trump has been accused of withholding the military assistance — which allows Ukraine to battle back against a Russian insurgency — while demanding Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky commit to investigating one of his political rivals, Joe Biden, in a public statement. The allegations were first noted in a whistleblower complaint about Mr Trump’s 25 July phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, which sparked the impeachment inquiry against him.

House investigators are probing the administration’s decision to withhold $250m (£193.7m) in military assistance after it was approved by Congress and sent to the Office of Management and Budget on 18 June.

The investigators are also looking into the administration’s withholding of $141m (£109.2m) from the US State Department, after it notified the White House budget office the additional funds were ready to be sent to Ukraine three days after the Pentagon approved the congressional funds.

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