10:54 p.m. ET, November 18, 2019
Hale says OMB was holding out on Ukraine aid at the direction of Trump and Mulvaney
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Ambassador David Hale said he first started to hear that the withholding of aid
to Ukraine could be a possibility on June 21.
With Lebanon’s aid also being held, Hale said, some State Department employees started to speculate whether this was “a new normal on assistance.”
Hale said he was briefed on a lower-level interagency meeting “in which (the Office of Management and Budget) said that the Ukraine assistance was suspended.”
On July 26, Hale said he attended a meeting with all the deputies of foreign affairs agencies that had concerns about the Ukraine aid, which was chaired by Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman.
The only individual opposing the continuation of Ukraine aid during the meeting was OMB. The OMB representative was asked why they opposed the aid, and “they said that they had guidance from the President and from acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney to freeze the assistance.”
Hale subsequently sent a note to Pompeo saying OMB likely would not budge on the issue and it would have to be heard at a principals level.
Asked if the State Department took action to deal with the aid potentially not being released, Hale said:
“I received some emails on the assistance freeze on the 25th of July. I believe it was just confirming that the freeze existed. I don’t remember discussion about going so far as reprogramming. Obviously, that was the implication.”
Hale said he learned about the aid release on September 11, when it was made public.
Asked if he was surprised that the aid was eventually released, Hale said: “I was relieved that it was released.”