On Monday, the House committees conducting impeachment inquiries into President Trump released transcripts of testimony from several witnesses, including former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and career diplomat and former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley.
Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post in May, testified that President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani led a campaign to oust her as ambassador over unsubstantiated allegations that she badmouthed the president and was seeking to stop Ukraine from opening an investigation into Joe Biden and his son. -Axios
Yovanovitch, who left her position in May, testified that she "assumed" Trump's lack of support for her stemmed from a "partnership" between Giuliani and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.
Last month, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan reportedly told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Trump recalled Yovanovitch after Giuliani singled her out for having an anti-Trump agenda.
As Axios notes:
Q: And from your staff members or your own conversations, what did you come to learn about Mr. Giuliani’s interest in Ukraine?
A: That basically there had been a number of meetings between Mr. Lutsenko and Mayor Giuliani, and that they were looking—I should say that Mr. Lutsenko was looking to hurt me in the U.S. I couldn’t imagine what that was. But, you know, now I see.
Q: What do you see now?
A: Well, that I’m no longer in Ukraine.
More (via Axios):
- Yovanovitch alleged that the indicted Giuliani business associates who connected him with Lutsenko — Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — wanted her removed because they were seeking additional business dealings in Ukraine.
Well, I mean, he basically said, and went into some detail, that there were two individuals from Florida, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, who were working with Mayor Giuliani, and that they had set up the meetings for Mr. Giuliani with Mr. Lutsenko. And that they were interested in having a different ambassador at post, I guess for—because they wanted to have business dealings in Ukraine, or additional business dealings.
- She also testified that U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland told her that if she wanted to save her job, she should tweet out her support for Trump.
He hadn't been aware of it, that the story had shifted, and he said, you know, you need to go big or go home. You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the President, and that all these are lies and everything else. And, you know, so, you know, I mean, obviously, that was advice. It was advice that I did not see how I could implement in my role as an Ambassador, and as a Foreign Service officer.
- Yovanovitch testified that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan informed her after her removal that she had “done nothing wrong,” but that Trump had “lost confidence” in her.
"So the Deputy Secretary said that, you know, he was sorry this was all happening, that the President had lost confidence, and I would need to depart my post. That, you know, he had—you know, I said, what have I done wrong? And he said, you’ve done nothing wrong. And he said that he had had to speak to ambassadors who had been recalled for cause before and this was not that. … I was upset. And I, you know, I wanted an explanation because this is rather unusual. But he could not offer one beyond the fact that the President had made a decision."
Read Yovanovitch's testomony below:
McKinley testified to impeachment investigators that he resigned over the State Department's unwillingness to support foreign service officers caught up in the Ukraine scandal and the apparent "utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives." -Axios