Pentagon official who questioned Trump’s Ukraine aid freeze resigns

Greg Nash

The Pentagon budget chief who questioned the Trump’s administration for its holding on aid to Ukraine last year will leave her post at the end of the month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Tuesday. 

Elaine McCusker, who has been the Pentagon’s acting comptroller since last summer, submitted her resignation, with her last day set for June 26, according to a Pentagon statement.

“Since joining the Department of Defense, Elaine has worked tirelessly to ensure that our budgeting and audit processes give full value to the taxpayer while meeting the enormous security needs of our nation as well as the men and women who serve it,” Esper said in the statement. “I am grateful for her dedication to public service and the contributions that she has made to the Department and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”

No additional details were given on her departure.

President Trump in November officially nominated McCusker to be comptroller but pulled the nomination in early March after reports that she had questioned the suspension of military aid to Ukraine.

The $391 million in security aid in question — which Democrats said Trump used as leverage to force Kiev to tarnish Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden — led to the president’s impeachment in December.

The Senate acquitted Trump in February on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, though the Government Accountability Office determined that withholding the aid violated the law.

As acting comptroller, McCusker had expressed concerns about the legality of withholding the funds, according to emails published by Just Security.

One exchange showed her at odds with White House Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey. When Duffey told her that it would be the Pentagon’s fault, not the White House’s, if funds weren’t spent by the legally mandated deadline, McCusker replied: “You can’t be serious. I am speechless.”

Tags Aid Donald Trump Elaine McCusker Joe Biden Mark Esper Pentagon Ukraine

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