White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official Mark Sandy, who testified in the impeachment inquiry Saturday, told congressional investigators that he did not know why aid to Ukraine was held up, The New York Times reported, citing two sources.
Sandy also said he had never come across a similar situation in his time with the OMB, the two people familiar with his testimony told the Times.
Sandy testified Saturday in the impeachment probe into President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE after he was subpoenaed by House Democrats, making him the latest official to defy the White House and appear before Congressional investigators. He is the first budget official to testify.
One area House Democrats have been looking into during their impeachment inquiry is the Trump administration's withholding of aid to Ukraine around the time that Trump pushed for the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE.
Some witnesses have testified that the aid was conditioned on investigations or that there was a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine's leader.
Trump has denied these claims and defended withholding aid to Ukraine, saying he wanted other countries to pay more to help Ukraine and expressing concern about possible corruption in the country.
"It’s looking like Democrats are now desperate to sell any narrative that'll justify what most Americans recognize has been an extreme abuse of Congress' powers," a senior administration official told The Hill in an email Saturday. "At this point, their fishing expedition would probably even find George Washington guilty of treason."
"Everything so far is about the temperature of the room, and that the testimony was 'technical' and didn’t get them what they wanted," the official added of Sandy's testimony.
Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — EU calls out Russian hacking efforts aimed at member states House lawmakers ask Cyber Ninjas CEO to testify on Arizona audit GOP seeks to keep spotlight on Afghanistan as Dems advance Biden's .5T spending plan MORE (D-Md.) had previously said Saturday that Sandy's testimony was "a technical part of our investigation," according to The Washington Post.
“We want to know exactly how the president translated his political objective to shake down the Ukrainian government for the favors he wanted, translated into the budget process,” Raskin said.
The Times reported that Sandy is a career official and not an appointee of President Trump. He is the deputy associate director of the OMB's national security division.