US Freed Ukraine Aid Before Trump Says He Did

Bloomberg reports:

President Donald Trump says he lifted his freeze on aid to Ukraine on Sept. 11, but the State Department had quietly authorized releasing $141 million of the money several days earlier, according to five people familiar with the matter.

The State Department decision, which hasn’t been reported previously, stemmed from a legal finding made earlier in the year, and conveyed in a classified memorandum to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. State Department lawyers found the White House Office of Management and Budget, and thus the president, had no legal standing to block spending of the Ukraine aid.

The White House freeze on assistance to Ukraine — including a separate $250 million package of military aid from the Defense Department — has become a central issue in House impeachment hearings, where witnesses say Trump ordered the assistance halted to force Ukraine to announce investigations into Joe Biden and other Democrats.