ukraine

GAO: Trump’s hold on Ukraine aid violated budget law
1974 budget law limits presidential authority to prohibit congressionally approved spending

President Donald Trump boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in October. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Government Accountability Office said in an opinion Thursday that President Donald Trump violated federal budget law when he ordered White House officials to withhold most of a $250 million military aid package for Ukraine last summer.

The finding comes after House Democrats delivered articles of impeachment on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress grounds stemming from the Ukraine affair to the Senate Wednesday evening, triggering the Senate trial expected to start next week.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 16
Collins said she may be leaning toward calling at least some witnesses for trial

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., lead the group of House impeachment managers to the Senate side of the Capitol on Thursday to read the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats led by Minority Leader Sen. Charles E. Schumer reiterated they want to hear the testimony of four witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“We expect we will have votes on these witnesses on Tuesday,” Schumer said Thursday.

Senate sets first ground rules for impeachment trial
McConnell, Schumer announced restrictions to staff and visitors

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer have detailed restrictions in Senate operations during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Corrected, Thursday, 8:32 p.m. | Senators and their staffs will be subject to new access restrictions and decorum practices in and around the Senate chamber starting Thursday morning, thanks to the imminent impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Access to the Senate wing will be more limited than usual as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 15
House approves impeachment managers

Flanked by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, left, and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the seven House members who will serve as managers in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially signed the articles of impeachment Wednesday evening, ahead of their delivery to the Senate from her chamber. 

“Today we make history when the managers walk down the hall will cross a threshold in history,” Pelosi said.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 14
House committees release trove of new documents produced by Lev Parnas

Speaker Nancy Pelosi departs from Tuesday’s Democratic Caucus meeting with House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House committees investigating President Donald Trump as part of the impeachment process released a trove of documents Tuesday night including phone records, documents and materials produced by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

The evidence the committees released showed Parnas was a key figure, as other witnesses testified, in working with Giuliani to try to get Ukraine to open the investigations Trump wanted.

Think impeachment has been a self-defeating crusade for Democrats? Think again
Ukraine call may be old news, but don’t discount its moral power in a trial

The punditocracy may say that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have overplayed their hands on impeachment, but the latest Iowa Poll pokes holes in that argument, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

[OPINION] DES MOINES, Iowa — The recently unveiled Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll is considered the gold standard for deciphering the opening-gun Feb. 3 Democratic caucuses. But a polling question asked of a sample of the entire Iowa electorate may be more important for understanding the upcoming impeachment trial.

The question never mentioned the words “Donald Trump.” Instead, it asked registered Iowa voters, “Do you think it is OK or not OK for a U.S. presidential candidate to try to gain political advantage over an election rival by seeking help from foreign countries?”

Ukraine aid legal ruling could shake up impeachment trial
GAO’s legal opinion on whether Trump and White House officials violated a 1974 budget law could be released this week

Van Hollen sought GAO opinion on legality of aid delay under 1974 budget law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ investigative arm may be about to add a new wrinkle into the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump sparked by the nearly two-month holdup of Ukraine security assistance last year, which Democrats charge Trump orchestrated to extract political favors.

As early as this week, the Government Accountability Office could release its legal opinion on whether Trump and senior White House officials violated the Nixon-era budget law that requires executive branch agencies to spend appropriated funds according to lawmakers’ wishes.  

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 13
Pelosi says no regrets in holding impeachment articles to try to push Senate to hear from witnesses

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said no matter the outcome of the impeachment trial in the Senate, President Donald Trump is “impeached for life.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As action on impeachment could move this week from the House to the Senate, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she had no second thoughts about her three-week delay in sending the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.

“No, no, no,” Pelosi answered when asked on ABC’s “This Week” if she regretted holding the articles in an unsuccessful attempt to force the Senate to call witnesses in its trial.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 10
Collins says she’s working to make sure Senate trial rules would allow sides to call witnesses

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters the House won’t take floor action Friday on appointing its impeachment managers for a Senate trial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Sen. Susan Collins told reporters in Maine that she’s been working all week with a “fairly small group” of Republican senators and party leaders to ensure trial rules would allow House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump’s lawyers to call witnesses.

The Bangor Daily News reports Collins declined to detail how large the group was, but she said, “we should be completely open to calling witnesses.”

Trump suggests Iran downed Ukrainian airliner, potentially by accident
U.S. officials haven't publicly stated what caused the crash yet

President Donald Trump arrives at the White House after a rally in Michigan on Dec. 19, 2019. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner earlier this week — possibly by mistake.

“Well, I have my suspicions,” he told reporters following an energy event in the White House. “It’s a tragic thing. … Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side. … It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood.