Ernst: Report that Trump administration broke law is ‘moot’

January 17, 2020 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa is dismissing as moot a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that President Donald Trump’s administration violated federal law by withholding aid to Ukraine last year.

In a call Thursday with reporters, Ernst was asked if the GAO report released earlier in the day justified calls for witnesses to appear for the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, which begins next week.

Ernst, a Republican and strong Trump supporter, said since the president eventually provided the aid Congress had approved the point is “moot.”


“I don’t believe that we need to hear from additional witnesses based on that information because we got the aid to Ukraine and in a way that was specified by Congress,” Ernst said.

The GAO report said the president is required by the Constitution to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress and that “does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress enacted into law.” Therefore, the Trump administration violated the federal Impoundment Control Act.

The House impeachment articles allege Trump ordered a delay in sending aid to Ukraine for months as he pressured the nation’s leader to reveal damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president.