But unlike these other OMB officials, Sandy is a career employee, not one appointed by the president. He has worked at the agency off and on for over a decade, under presidents of both parties, climbing the ranks into his current role as deputy associate director for national security programs.
“If he is subpoenaed, he will appear,” Sandy’s lawyer, Barbara “Biz” Van Gelder said Thursday evening.
Sandy is expected to testify during a closed-door deposition, which is not open to the public. Typically, witnesses in the impeachment inquiry have been served with subpoenas immediately before their depositions are scheduled to begin, an approach Democrats say is designed to give them cover against an administration that has ordered officials not to comply with the inquiry.
Van Gelder declined further comment.
Until now, OMB has served as a bulwark for President Trump against the impeachment inquiry, since top officials have refused to testify. A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing inquiry, discounted the importance of Sandy’s testimony, and criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for calling him to testify.
“Democrats are going to be sorely disappointed when their latest false narrative isn’t confirmed, ” the official said. “With nothing to show after three years trying to impeach the President, Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Schiff have resorted to threatening dedicated civil servants with subpoenas and depositions without the ability to even have agency counsel present.”
Sandy could provide insight into the process by which some $400 million in military and security aid to Ukraine was held up over the summer. He was among the career staffers who raised questions about the hold-up on the aid, people familiar with the matter said, and his role gave him responsibility for signing the documents required to hold it up. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the internal deliberations.
Sandy’s signature appears on at least one of these so-called apportionment letters in July that prevented the money from going to Ukraine. But after that, the process for approving or denying such funds was taken over by a political appointee at OMB, Mike Duffey, who defied a congressional subpoena to testify earlier this month. The money had already been approved by Congress.