Politics

Ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Testifies in Impeachment Hearing

Trump ousted her as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and called her “bad news,” apparently because she would not help pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rivals.

Ousted foreign service officer Marie Yovanovitch testified Friday in the House’s second public hearing on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. 

Yovanovitch, a 33-year foreign service officer, has served under three presidents — two Republican and one Democrat. Trump ousted her as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and called her “bad news,” apparently because she would not help pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rivals. She had the opportunity to touch on her experience with past administrations and presidents at the hearing.

She also testified about the smear campaign perpetrated against her by Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Yovanovitch has served in difficult or conflict situations in Mogadishu, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere, building up an impressive diplomatic career — and lost her job after 30 years under Trump. 

“Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American Ambassador who does not give them what they want,” she said during Friday’s testimony.

Trump, who said on Wednesday he did not watch “one minute” of the first public hearing (he also called it a “sham”), tweeted about Yovanovitch during her testimony.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” the tweet said. “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

House Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) then asked about the president's tweet during the hearing.

"The president in real time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?" he asked.

"Well, it is very intimidating," Yovanovitch replied.

The intimidation continued with Republican representatives cutting her off before she could finish answering their questions. 
 

Also on Friday, the White House released the call summary of the first conversation Trump had with Ukraine President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky.  

Part of the call summary reads:

Zelensky: Words cannot describe our country, so it would be best for you to see it yourself. If you can come, that would be great. Again, I invite you to come.

Trump: When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people. Ukraine was always very well represented.

Zelensky invited Trump to his inauguration, but Trump did not come. He said he would send someone "a very, very high level," which ended up being Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

During Wednesday's public impeachment hearing, George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, testified that a White House visit would let Zelensky "boost his leverage" to negotiate with Putin over the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. On call one, Zelensky was making it clear he wanted a show of support from Trump, suggesting he come to Ukraine several times.

Trump has not given Zelensky a White House meeting, but the pair did meet at the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York in September.

This week, Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House.

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