Ukraine Aid Was Released After Federal Lawyers Said Trump Freeze Was Illegal

It wasn’t Donald Trump who released the promised military aid to Ukraine, but the State Department, after lawyers determined that the White House freeze on the funds was illegal, several sources have told Bloomberg.

Trump has claimed he released the aid on September 11. But five sources told Bloomberg that $141 million of the money was actually authorized to be released several days earlier after lawyers determined that the White House Office of Management and Budget and, therefore, the president, had no legal standing to block the funds. The decision was outlined in a classified memo to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to Bloomberg.

The information severely undercuts Trump’s insistence that there was no quid pro quo for military aid when he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July phone call to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Trump has pointed to the fact that he released the aid before a probe was begun. But Bloomberg now reports that Trump was no longer in control of disbursement when the money was released.

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