The State Department released military aid to Ukraine before President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey impeachment witnesses to know as public hearings begin Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Nunes demands Schiff testify behind closed doors in Trump impeachment inquiry MORE announced that he had stopped withholding it on Sept. 11, Bloomberg reported Saturday, citing five people familiar with the matter.
State Department lawyers had found earlier this year that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and therefore Trump could not legally block the aid, Bloomberg reported, noting that this determination resulted in the release of the $141 million.
OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel challenged this narrative in a statement to The Hill.
"At no point was this pause inappropriate, let alone illegal, Semmel said. "OMB has the statutory role to manage budget execution, consistent with the law and the President's policy agenda."
"The State Department did not challenge the legality of the review with senior OMB leadership at any point," she added.
Bloomberg reported that then-national security adviser on Sept. 9 told the State Department that the funding could go ahead. It is reportedly unclear whether President Trump had approved of this.
One person familiar with the matter told the news outlet that White House officials viewed the move as a protocol violation and that it had surprised Acting Chief of Staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyKey impeachment witnesses to know as public hearings begin Overnight Defense: New transcripts tie Mulvaney to quid pro quo effort | Mulvaney defies House subpoena | Trump rails against public impeachment hearings Democrats aim to impeach Trump by Christmas MORE.
Semmel also disputed this in a statement to The Hill, saying that other offices including the National Security Council do not "have the authority to release such a funding hold if a policy review is underway.
The funding in question is at the center of the House's impeachment inquiry into the Trump. They are looking into whether Trump withheld the aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Nunes demands Schiff testify behind closed doors in Trump impeachment inquiry Chris Hayes and his audience troll Trump: 'Yes, Read the Transcript!' MORE.