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Impeachment Witness Deposition Reveals Why They Were Told To Hold Ukraine Aid
Mark Sandy Adam Schiff
Getty Images: ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Samuel Corum-Pool

Newly released transcripts from the deposition of Mark Sandy, an official at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), reveal that OMB was allegedly instructed to withhold aid to Ukraine because President Donald Trump was concerned “about other countries not contributing more to Ukraine.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) responded to the release of the transcripts from the deposition, which happened on Chairman Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, by writing on Twitter, “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!”

Sandy made the revelation when he was asked what reason Michael Duffey, a politically appointed official at the OMB, was given by the White House on why the aid to Ukraine was to be delayed.

Here is the interaction where the revelation was made [emphasis added]:

Question: Between July 19th and July 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?

Sandy: No.

Question: Did you ask?

Sandy: Yes.

Question: And what was the response?

Sandy: He was not aware of the reason.

Question: To the best of your recollection, what precisely did he say to you when you asked for the reason for the President’s decision to place a hold on security assistance?

Sandy: That he was not aware.

Question: Did Mr. Duffey say that he was going to try to get additional information as to the reason for the hold?

Sandy: Yes. He certainly said that if he got additional information he would share it with us.

Question: At any point in time, from the moment that you walked into the [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] to anytime in history, has Mr. Duffey ever provided to you a reason why the President wanted to place a hold on security assistance?

Sandy: I recall in early September an email [from Mike Duffey] that attributed the hold to the President’s concern about other counties not contributing money to Ukraine.

Question: Was this the first time that you heard that the hold might be about some sort of concern that other countries are not providing sufficient support to Ukraine?

Sandy: We had received information requesting — sorry. We had received requests for additional information on what other countries were contributing to Ukraine.

Sandy went on to state that the requests that he received in early September about how much other nations were contributing to Ukraine came from Duffey.

The questions came as part of Democrats’ partisan impeachment inquiry hearings over Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Democrats allege that the president engage in a quid pro quo.

CNN claimed in a report on Tuesday that the OMB took action on withholding the aid to Ukraine on the evening of July 25, the same day as the call.

Zeldin responded to the story, writing on Twitter: “This is not true. There were multiple actions before July 25th. It’s amazing how much deliberate misleading many in the media are enthusiastically engaging in to dumb down the public. Why? Just shoot straight and let the American public think for themselves with all of the facts!”

On September 23, citing three senior Trump administration officials, The Washington Post reported that Trump told acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to withhold the aid at least a week prior to the phone call.

“Officials at the Office of Management and Budget relayed Trump’s order to the State Department and the Pentagon during an interagency meeting in mid-July, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations,” The Post reported. “They explained that the president had ‘concerns’ and wanted to analyze whether the money needed to be spent.”

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