Fact Check: Mark Sandy Testified Duffey Appointment Not Linked to Ukraine Aid

Mark Sandy (Sarah Silbiger / Getty)
Sarah Silbiger / Getty

CLAIM: Michael Duffey, a political appointee, “seized responsibility for withholding the [Ukraine] aid” from Mark Sandy, a career official.

VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE.

House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) suggested to the Senate on Friday that the fact that Michael Duffey, a political appointee, replaced a civil servant as the official who approved financial apportionments at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in July was nefarious and related to Ukraine.

Sandy testified that Duffey had explained to staff that he was becoming more involved in the apportionment because White House leadership was becoming more interested in tracking the way money was actually being spent, and because he wanted to learn more about his job. Sandy was asked specifically whether he thought that Duffey’s new role had anything with the Ukraine aid, and he said that he did not think so:

Q: Okay. And was this change — did it have anything to do with the Ukraine funds?

A: I’m not aware of a connection.

Q: Okay. So this decision of Mr. Duffey was just an organizational decision, unrelated to this particular [aid] hold, to the best of your knowledge?

A: I shared with you the reasons that he provided.

So while it was true that Duffey had responsibility for overseeing aid, there is no evidence of a Ukraine link.

Notably, Sandy testified late in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation. His transcript was not made publicly available until very late in the hearing process, and he was never invited to testify in public.

Democrats want to call several new witnesses, including Duffey, OMB director Mick Mulvaney, and others.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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