White House budget official expected to break ranks and testify

Ex-envoy responds to Trump’s latest criticism

Longtime White House budget employee Mark Sandy is expected to appear in a closed hearing on Saturday before the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry. It would make him the first official from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to testify in the inquiry.

Sandy’s testimony could fill in gaps about the withholding of military aid to Ukraine for several months, a process in which the OMB played a critical role. Unlike several other OMB officials who have refused to appear before the committee, he was not appointed by President Trump.

The Washington Post first reported a statement by Sandy’s lawyer that he would appear if subpoenaed, in a break with other White House officials. Sandy’s lawyer confirmed to CBS News on Thursday that Sandy would appear if subpoenaed.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone informed Congress in September that the White House would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, and the Office of Management and Budget has declined to participate.

Russ Vought, the acting director of the OMB, tweeted in October that he and Mike Duffey, another top OMB official, would not comply with congressional requests for depositions. “As the WH letter made clear two weeks ago, OMB officials – myself and Mike Duffey – will not be complying with deposition requests this week. #shamprocess,” Vought wrote on Twitter on October 21. 

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has also defied a subpoena to appear before the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.

Sandy’s testimony follows the first two open hearings in the impeachment inquiry this week, as well as a closed hearing with State Department staffer David Holmes, the aide who overheard a phone call between U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and President Trump.

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