January 16, 2020

Schiff Statement on GAO Decision that Trump Broke the Law

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the lead House Manager for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump, issued the following statement:

“Today’s decision by the Government Accountability Office that President Trump broke the law when he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars of vital military aid to Ukraine demonstrates once again that the President violated his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed as he put his personal and political interests above the interests of the nation and its security.

“President Trump illegally withheld U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to get the Ukrainian president to help him win reelection, another indication of the extreme lengths to which the President would go to coerce a foreign power into helping him cheat to win. The President was willing to violate the law in withholding security assistance from an ally at war with Russia, a gross abuse of the powers of his office, acts for which he was impeached.

“In its opinion, GAO states that ‘faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.’  President Trump’s conduct is all the more egregious because he was not withholding the funds for a policy reason at all, but for the corrupt purpose of seeking foreign help in his reelection campaign. 

“As it has with the House, Trump’s State Department and OMB have ‘failed, as of yet, to provide the information’ GAO needs to complete its investigation.  As GAO opinion states: ‘All federal officials and employees take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution and its core tenets, including the congressional power of the purse.’

“Now, the Senate will have the opportunity to act on its oath.”