House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees released White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official Mark Sandy's deposition transcript on Tuesday. The transcripts reveal aid to Ukraine was put on hold because President Donald Trump was concerned about other countries' failure to provide aid.
Q: Okay. When did you go on leave?
A: I was out of the office starting on Monday, July 8th.
Q: So you did not hear anything about Ukraine security assistance possibly being on hold at any time during the month of June or during that first week of JuIy?
Q: Did you hear of any questions that were being raised by OMB about Ukraine security assistance at the end of June or the beginning of July?
Q: Can you describe what you heard?
A: I heard that the President had seen a media report and he had questions about the assistance.
Q: When did you hear that the President had seen a media report and had questions about the assistance?
A: 0n June 19th.
Q: Do you know what media report that was?
A: I don't recall the specific article.
Q: Who told you that the President had these concerns on these questions?
A: Mike Duffey.
Q: And that was the conversation that you had with Mr. Duffey on June 19th?
A: I believe it was an email.
Q: Okay. Can you describe what that email said?
A: The email expressed an interest in getting more information from the Department of Defense.
Q: And what kind of additional information?
A: A description of the program.
Q: What exactly did Mr. Duffey say, to the best of your recollection, in that email?
A: That the President had questions about the press report and that he was seeking additional information.
Q: Anything else in that email?
A: Not that I recall.
Q: Between JuIy 19th and JuIy 22nd, including July 22nd, did Mr. Duffey provide you any explanation as to why the President wanted to place a hold on Ukraine security assistance?
Q: Did you ask?
Q: And what was the response?
A: He was not aware of the reason.
Q: To the best of your recollection, what precisely dld he say to you when you asked for the reason for the President's decision to place a hold on security assistance?
A: That he was not aware.
Q: He simply said, "I don't know"?
Q: Did he indicate that he was going to try to get more information as to why the President was placing a hold on security assistance?
A: I am pausing because I -- there was certainly a desire to learn more about the rationale.
Q: Whose rational?
A: A desire on the pant of Mike Duffey, myself, and other people working on this issue. So I want to answer your question accurately in terms of saying, that desire was acknowledged.
Q: All night. Did Mr. Duffey say that he was going to try to get additional information as to the reason for the hold?
A: Yes. He certainly said that if he got additional information he would share it with us.
Q: Okay. At any point in time, from the moment that you walked into the SCIF to anytime in history, has Mr. Duffey even provided to you a reason why the President wanted to place a hold on security assistance?
A: I recall in early September an email that attributed the hold to the President's concern about other countries not contributing more to Ukraine.
In a joint statement, the Chairman of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees attempted to spin the testimony.
“The testimonies from Ambassador Reeker and Mr. Sandy continue to paint a portrait of hand-picked political appointees corrupting the official levers of U.S. government power, including by withholding taxpayer funded military assistance to Ukraine, to further the President’s own personal political agenda.
“Mr. Sandy confirmed that he was told by the office of Mick Mulvaney, the Acting White House Chief of Staff, that the President himself had directed the hold on security assistance to Ukraine. However, he was provided no other reason or justification for the hold when he was directed to implement it. And in fact, after he raised concerns with OMB leadership and lawyers that the withholding of funding for Ukraine may violate the law, his authority for approving security assistance funding was revoked and given instead to a hand-picked Trump OMB political appointee.
“Finally, we learned from Mr. Sandy that he was first informed in early September—approximately two months after the hold was implemented—that the reason for the hold was due to concerns regarding European countries not paying their fair share of foreign assistance. Given other testimony and the public admission by Mr. Mulvaney that the aid was held to pressure Ukraine to conduct the investigations desired by the President, this constitutes powerful evidence that this justification was concocted as an after-the-fact rationalization to justify the hold.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) took to Twitter to slam House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for pushing the quid pro quo theory.
The transcript for OMB’s Mark Sandy was just released. The ONLY reason he was ever given why there was a hold on $ to Ukraine was “the President’s concern about other countries not contributing more to Ukraine.” NOT bribery. NOT quid pro quo or any other WACKY Schiff conspiracy!— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) November 26, 2019