The editors note, “The GAO is a nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, and its legal opinions aren’t binding on the executive branch.”
They recount the events that prompted GAO to issue its opinion: “To rewind the tape, the Office of Management and Budget last summer put a hold on $250 million in Pentagon funds that Congress had appropriated in 2018 for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. Congress made the money available through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, but OMB enjoys discretion over when to let funds flow.
“OMB in July and August put a hold on the money putatively ‘to allow for an interagency process to determine the best use of such funds’…and OMB released the funds on September 12.
“But no spending was deferred. The money was spent in the fiscal year of the Congressional appropriation, and OMB says the Pentagon didn’t intend to obligate most of it until September anyway.”
The editors conclude, “There was thus no derogation of Congress’s power of the purse.”
As with other elements of the Democrats’ impeachment narrative, this one has collapsed.