Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., is asking the Government Accountability Office for an opinion on whether it was legal for President Donald Trump to hold up military aid to Ukraine, seeking a ruling to determine if a violation of the Impoundment Control Act was committed, no matter what Trump's reasoning was for his action.
"We know from all the evidence uncovered by the House of Representatives that President Trump abused his power and abused the office of the presidency when he held up vital military aid to Ukraine in exchange for trying to get this personal political favor to interfere in our elections," Van Hollen told CNN.
"The purpose of the letter to GAO is to make the argument that even if you accept President Trump's sort of made-up argument that he withheld the aid because he wanted to conduct a 'policy review,' that still is an illegal action."
If the GAO agrees the action was illegal, "it will be more evidence on top of the already mountains of evidence that this was far from a perfect call and a perfect action, and that this will represent another violation of the law."
According to Van Hollen's letter obtained by The Hill ahead of its release, the Trump administration has "failed to even state a legal reason under the ICA for its withholding of security assistance for Ukraine, and the evidence refutes the administration's stated reasons."
The GAO in November opened an investigation into Trump's decision to delay the near $400 million in lethal military aid, but the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says the correct procedures were followed in holding the funding, which was released in mid-September.
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