Former National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly directed the State Department to release $141 million in military to Ukraine several days before President Donald Trump claims he himself had authorized the aid’s release.
Bloomberg reported on Saturday that though Trump claims he had unfrozen funds for the aid on September 11 after Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) had begged for him to do so that day, the State Department had already quietly released the aid on Bolton’s orders several days prior. Bloomberg could not verify whether Trump had signed off on Bolton’s directive.
The department reportedly released the aid after White House lawyers found that Trump and the Office of Management and Budget could not legally delay it, a finding the lawyers had made earlier in 2019. According to Bloomberg, the lawyers detailed the finding in a classified memo to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
An unnamed source told Bloomberg that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was blindsided by Bolton’s order.
A spokesperson for the OMB told Bloomberg that Bolton lacked the authority to issue such an order and had not done so.