House impeachment investigators have little visibility into the inner workings of the White House at the time when President Trump allegedly ordered a hold on military assistance for Ukraine.
That could change today when Mark Sandy, a senior career official at the Office of Management and Budget, is expected to testify behind closed doors.
Sandy will become the first OMB official to meet with investigators after others have refused. Political appointees in the office have fought subpoenas, refused to provide documents, and tried in other ways to stonewall the probe.
He is senior enough that he led the agency as acting director in the early weeks of the Trump administration, before political appointees could be put in place. He previously worked under both Republican and Democrat administrations.
“He’s a longstanding public servant with an excellent reputation,” said Sam Berger, a high-ranking OMB political appointee from the Obama administration who worked with Sandy.
How Sandy fits in with the impeachment inquiry: The impeachment investigation is focused on whether Trump and his allies withheld funding for Ukraine’s military, which is fighting a Russian invasion, while seeking a political favor from the country’s president.
From his perch in OMB’s national security programs office, Sandy is expected to have insight into internal conversations when the administration was taking the unusual step of freezing the funding. A source familiar with the matter said Sandy did not know at the time why at the time it was frozen.
The funding was held earlier this year at the direction of Trump, according to an administration official and testimony of Catherine Croft, a diplomatic aide.
Michael Duffey, the Trump-appointed associate director overseeing the office Sandy works in, signed some of the documentation that froze the funding, according to two sources.