“A DEVIOUS FRAUD”
by Ren Jander, ©2019
(Dec. 12, 2019) — $391 million is the exact amount stated in the official Articles of Impeachment that President Trump is accused of holding from Ukraine between July 3 and September 11, 2019. If the President did not hold that money back from Ukraine, the entire basis of impeachment is removed. My research proves that this number – $391 million – is a devious fraud perpetrated by Adam Schiff (and others) that GOP reps and counsel have failed to properly dispute.
I have no doubt that the Republicans and House staff legal counsel are genuinely trying to protect President Trump from the impeachment coup. Unfortunately, they are failing on multiple fronts to present the best defense. President Trump must get stronger counsel before any aspect of his defense is presented in the Senate.
Furthermore, just because there are not enough votes now to remove POTUS, beware of jack in the box witnesses crawling from the infestation of the White House. POTUS is in danger. The information below must be made clear to the American people.
Schiff, Pelosi and Nadler are rushing impeachment because they are afraid you’ll learn the following truth before they vote to impeach. So please contact your representatives about this report, and share it on social media. You have power.
For fiscal year 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations act gave $250 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). And in the 2019 Department of State (DoS) appropriations act, $115 million was granted to Ukraine for the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program.
That only adds up to $365 million. So why does Schiff’s House impeachment report and the Articles refer to $391 million? This is because Adam Schiff has tricked everyone into believing the FMF granted to Ukraine in 2019 was $141 million. It wasn’t. See my prior report proving that the $115 million FMF grant was obligated in March 2019. And no Congressional notification was necessary for that obligation. So what happened?
THE $141 MILLION FMF HEADFAKE
The Trump administration conducted a review of all foreign assistance, and around July of this year, they decided to increase the amount of FMF support from $115 million to $141.5 million. To accomplish this increase, they sought to reprogram $26.5 million from 2018 carry-over funds appropriated to other programs.
This was not money appropriated to Ukraine in any statute, yet the Trump administration decided to transfer it to Ukraine in 2019 as an extra bonus. You’re not supposed to know that.
The reprogramming needed Congressional approval. So while the OMB folks were figuring out what to do exactly with these left overs from 2018, they held the extra money until they were ready to ask Congress for permission to give Ukraine more money than originally appropriated in 2019.
Somehow, this hold on preparing the notification to increase Ukraine FMF for 2019 has been twisted by Schiff to appear as if Trump held back all $141.5 million. The GOP defense of Trump has made a terrible error in allowing this egregious lie to become part of the official impeachment narrative.
The Sept 11, 2019 Congressional Notification – widely hyped as the “release” of Ukraine funds – informed Congress of DoS intent to increase funding to Ukraine by $26.5 million, and it tells you exactly what statutes this notification was being made pursuant to:
“In accordance with section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, as amended, and sections 7015(c) and 7015(d) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019…”
“634A”, and “7015 (c)” are only required for an INCREASE in appropriated funding from one account to another. That’s what happened here. They took $26.5 million from a 2018/2019 Overseas Contingency Operations FMF account – not appropriated for Ukraine – and reprogrammed it to support Ukraine in 2019.
The increase of 2019 Ukraine FMF funds required notice under 7015(c) of the DoS appropriations act, while the reprogramming of 2018 funds to Ukraine required notice under 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
So this alleged nefarious September 11, 2019 release you have heard so much about was nothing more than a notification that the Trump administration was increasing FMF support for Ukraine from $115 million – already obligated and transferred to the FMS trust fund for pending liquidation back in March – to $141.5 million, the increase being then obligated by the end of September.
$250 MILLION USAI CASH IN 2019
The first thing to consider now is a previous report that discussed Section 8004 of the 2019 DoD appropriations act. This is the same act that allocated the $250 million for USAI. Sec. 8004 mandates that only 20 percent of the $250 million could be obligated in the last two months of the fiscal year. Today, the GOP introduced a letter from OMB stating that they had obligated 84 percent ($210 million) by September 30th. Taking Sec. 8004 into account – and it is mandatory – this means DoD must have obligated a minimum of $160 million before July 31, 2019.
Just do the math. Schiff’s official impeachment report claims that Trump first put a hold on the $250 million in USAI cash by early July. Therefore, since – according to a mandatory statute (commonly known as the 80/20 rule) – the DoD was forbidden from obligating more than $50 million after July 31st, at least $160 million had to be obligated before the alleged hold went into effect.
So how could Trump put a hold on the full $250 million if the DoD had already obligated $160 million before the hold went into effect? Yeah. Not possible. The numbers do not add up.
In another previous report, we showed that defense sector web site – securityassistance.org – published a breakdown of exactly how the first $125 million tranche of USAI was spent. We documented that DoD notified Congress of this obligation back on February 28, 2019. Notification was required before DoD could obligate the money. Fifteen days after notification to Congress, DoD was authorized to transfer that money to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to implement obligations then liquidate the contracts.
Once that money is transferred to DSCA, it’s considered to be an obligation of the government, and it cannot be held back. The second tranche of $125 million was notified to Congress on May 23, 2019. But this notification was suspiciously given a double role in this saga, a role that the same notification last year was not given. And that double-role has caused major confusion leading to articles of impeachment.
DoD was required to certify that Ukraine had met anti-corruption benchmarks before the second half of the $250 million could be obligated. But that certification is not required by statute to be notified to Congress. DoD notifies Congress as a courtesy.
Last year, on July 13, 2018, DoD sent a courtesy notification to Congress regarding the required anti-corruption certification, but DoD did not include notification of obligations, because (as referred to in the letter), earlier in 2018, DoD sent Congress notification of pending obligations for the full year appropriation all at once.
Obligation notifications are required by statute. Fifteen days after such notification, DoD transferred half of the 2018 USAI cash to DSCA. Then, after DoD certified anti-corruption in 2018, they did not have to wait another fifteen days from their courtesy notification to Congress. This is because Congress did not object to the original obligation notification from earlier that year regarding either tranche.
But something changed in 2019. And I find it very suspicious. (Listen up, POTUS.) In February, DoD only notified Congress as to half of the full $250 million appropriation. Then, on May 23rd, DoD merged their statutorily required obligation notice (for the remaining $125 million) with the courtesy certification.
This merging of letters masked the fact that the May 23rd letter was actually obligating the second tranche of $125 million. Because everyone has been so focused on the anti-corruption certification this year, nobody defending Trump appears to be aware that fifteen days after Congress cleared Tranche #2, it was obligated after being transferred to DSCA.
Do you understand what that means? It means all $250 million of USAI was obligated by mid-June 2019. All of it. Therefore, none of it could be held or froze from Ukraine by President Trump.
You may be asking how I know this is true. Well, that is a good question. And it’s really simple, folks. I just read the May 23, 2019 notification by John C. Rood of the DoD very carefully, and I also read the Integrated Financial Operations Commander’s Handbook. When read in tandem, the truth emerges.
First, let’s examine the May 23rd letter by Rood. It includes 12 pages of tables specifically referencing each particular purchase to be made with the second $125 million. The tables indicate that DSCA will be the “component” contracting the money. (You can read the full letter and tables here.) I want to draw your attention now to the text:
“On behalf of the Secretary of Defense, and in coordination with the Secretary of State, I have certified that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption…Furthermore, now that this defense institutional reform has occurred, we will…support programs in Ukraine further. Implementation of this further support will begin no sooner than 15 days following this notification…
“Pursuant to Section 9013 of the Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act, 2019… we are notifying the committees of this obligation.”
So again, the certification is required by the NDAA, but there is no statutory requirement to notify Congress of the certification. Sec. 9013 of the DoD appropriations act does, however, require Congress to be notified fifteen days before obligating the money. So, fifteen days after Congress cleared this notification, the money was transferred to DSCA to implement “this obligation”. You see that, folks? This is an obligation letter. It’s notifying Congress of the legal obligation that will go into effect pertaining to the twelve pages of tables attached thereto.
The Operation Commander’s Handbook (pg. B-7) verifies the approval and notification process pertaining to contingency operation funding (USAI is an overseas contingency operation according to statute):
“2. The request is reviewed to ensure requirements are consistent wit these guidelines and military objectives in contingency operations and that the request includes sufficient justification to enable approval by the SecDef. The DSCA will develop the approval package and forward to the OUSD (Comptroller) for coordination and signature.
“3. Upon approval by the SecDef and after completion of the 15-day congressional notification period, the OUSD (Comptroller) will release funds to the DSCA to enable implementation of the pseudo case.”
So, all of the $250 million in USAI, and all of the $115 million in FMF were fully obligated by mid-June 2019. Schiff’s impeachment fantasy is a complete fraud. Trump never held this money back from Ukraine. In fact, he increased it from $365 million to $391.5 million. Because he did not commit immediately to the increase, Schiff (and others we need to weed out) somehow twisted the facts to make it appear as if Trump held back the Congressional Notification in a bid to deny Ukraine all of the money. Incredible. Yes. Schiff got away with it up until now.
THE APPORTIONMENT “HOLDS”
Additionally, the apportionment letters, referred to as “Majority Exhibits” in the deposition testimony of Mark Sandy and others were mis-classified as “holds”. Schiff has been allowed to control the language. Apportionments are plans to spend, not hold or cancel. And these apportionment letters are restricted to USAI funds that were apportioned but not obligated…at the time of the letter.
So, all of the $250 million was appropriated and obligated no later than mid-June. But some of that money will always be returned from DSCA after they close cases, and refunds occur. This is because – as the May 23rd letter points out (read it) – the tables depend on estimates, and they always estimate up so that they do not over-obligate, which is a violation of law.
Inevitably, when DSCA liquidates obligations, they make better deals than the estimate, and the extra money comes back. Also, not every pseudo-case becomes liquidated, and if not, that money also comes back. This refunded money was apportioned, obligated, refunded, and then de-obligated. This is the only money that was “held” during reapportionment. And this is done year in and year out. There is nothing nefarious about it.
NOT A 55 DAY HOLD
The testimony of Mark Sandy makes it clear that the USAI apportionment holds came to a screeching hold on August 12th, and that there was no hold between August 12th and August 20th. So why does the GOP keep agreeing there was a 55 day hold? Stop saying that. Wake up.
It’s not clear at all that there was an apportionment letter constraining USAI funds after August 12th. Sandy testified that some of the apportionment letters issued by OMB between July 25 and September 11 had nothing to do with USAI.
Since there was no apportionment hold in effect concerning Ukraine’s USAI funds between August 12 and August 20, there was no legal reason why DoD could not have obligated the remaining funds.
When the Schiff inquisitor tried to imply (twice) that there was a typo in the apportionment letters, and that there really was a hold in place from the 12th to the 20th, Mark Sandy vehemently corrected him (pgs. 124-126). And this is why Mark Sandy was not allowed to testify in a public hearing.
It seems as if the entire government has forgotten what an Executive Order is, or a Presidential Directive. Nobody has brought forward any evidence that Trump issued an EO or PD holding Ukraine money. Without such an order, there is no official direction. There is no EVIDENCE of a presidential hold. Have we forgot how Presidents create orders? They do this with their hand. They sign stuff.
What the OMB does in its regular course of budget oversight is not impeachable. And Mark Sandy – the official who wrote the first apportionment letter on July 25 – testified that what everyone is now calling a “hold” was nothing more than a legal reapportionment of funds for Ukraine not from Ukraine. Ambassador David Hale also testified that the money was going to Ukraine, whether for military or other security assistance (intelligence or training). And even Lt. Col. Vindman testified in his hearing that everyone agreed the apportionment letters were legal.
WHERE ARE THE EXHIBITS, SCHIFF?
When read in concert, the February 28th Congressional Notification, the May 23rd Congressional Notification, and the full text of the apportionment letters, make it clear that all $250 million in USAI funds had been obligated by mid-June 2019. But the February 28th letter from John C. Rood to Congress, and the apportionment letters have not been made available to the public. Schiff keeps them under wraps.
The GOP needs to get Schiff’s smoke out of its eyes. None of this fact pattern fed to us is real. The coup team has done an excellent job of obfuscating truth. Schiff has you salivating over exposing the whistleblower. And he has everyone angered by his belligerence in conducting secret proceedings and exposing phone numbers.
While you are chasing your tails sniffing all of Schiff’s distracting catnip, the honest truth remains unnoticed. Trump never held $391 million from Ukraine. Instead, his subordinates found a way to increase 2019 funding for FMF by $26.5 million, but in taking his time to approve that increase, they framed him.
And don’t blame only Schiff and the Dems. Moles are embedded in or near the White House.
AMBASSADOR KURT VOLKER’S JULY 27, 2019 PRESS CONFERENCE
Neither the GOP report, nor counsel defending Trump has ever mentioned the July 27, 2019 press conference in Kyiv where Special Envoy Kurt Volker – two days after the July 25th call – states unequivocally that there were no conditions whatsoever on the pending White House meeting between Trump and Zelensky. Volker also stated that military security assistance was in place for Ukraine at that very moment.
I wrote extensively about this in a previous report. Volker is the official voice of Trump speaking out of the US Embassy in Kyiv. This was an affirmative statement, not innuendo. It was sanctioned by a Presidential Directive required by federal statute.
Why is this crucial exonerating press conference not part of the official record of the impeachment inquiry? Volker channels the President’s voice in Kyiv. He is the President’s voice in Kyiv. Not making this press conference front and center of the defense is a tragic error of strategy. Trump needs better legal counsel.
Written and Researched by Ren Jander
UPDATE: Hours after posting this report, during the early morning of Dec 13, 2019, I became aware of a Washington Post article that included the letter from OMB legal counsel, Mark Paoletta, to which I referred in the report below. At the time I wrote this, I only knew about this letter from listening to the hearings today. But now that I have read the 9-page letter, it is obvious the letter was prepared to counter previous reports here concerning the fraudulent testimony of Laura Cooper, at the DoD (see this as well), and to protect Cooper from public scrutiny. This new OMB letter contains numerous lies by Paoletta. He should be disbarred for it. For example, while it acknowledges our accurate reporting that the FMF money was “obligated upon apportionment”, the OMB letter blatantly lies concerning when the apportionment happened, claiming that apportionment only happened upon a fifteen-day Congressional Notification. No statute is given by OMB for this assertion, because no such statute exists. This is fraud, plain and simple. My report below discusses the actual statutes mentioned in the infamous Sept. 11, 2019 DoS letter. Paoletta also ignores the statutory authority of Sec. 8004 discussed in our report below. This OMB letter is the most frightening document I have ever seen produced by a government agency. The office of OMB is in on the Coup. Now Mulvaney’s insanely prejudicial comments about quid pro quo make sense. Other lies in Paoletta’s letter pertain to the obligation of USAI funds which I also address below. I stand by my reporting, and I am flat out saying the OMB letter by Paoletta is a trap, a lie, and perhaps the most egregious fraud ever perpetrated on the American people. This is an absolute danger to the United States of America, that the OMB legal counsel would go to such lengths to deceive the American People. The President is in trouble. You need to spread the word. Sound the alarm. We are under attack by domestic enemies of the US Constitution. – Ren Jander, Dec. 13, 2019, 6:45 AM
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Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.