Ex-U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine Says Donald Trump Forced Her Out Of Her Position In New Testimony

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch (C) is surrounded by lawyers, aides and journalists as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

In the most recent hearing regarding Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives, ex-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, gave more details about Rudy Giuliani’s actions and the infamous phone call that took place between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, per Politico.

During her opening statement, which was obtained by Politico, Yovanovitch reported that she was told by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan that there was a “concerted effort against her” by Trump and that she had done “nothing wrong” to necessitate her recall. Perhaps related, Sullivan was just nominated by the president to become the new U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Yovanovitch went on to describe the recent political and socio-economic history of Ukraine and the anti-corruption efforts in which she and other embassy staff took part at the direction of both the Obama and Trump administrations for which she served. The ex-ambassador represented the U.S. in Ukraine from 2016 to 2019, at which point she was abruptly returned to the U.S. at the urging of Trump.

Although the exact circumstances and reasons for her recall are unclear as of this writing, Yuvanovitch had been mentioned during the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, despite the fact that she had been out of the country for two months.

While Trump was the person who attacked her, Yuvanovitch stated that she believed the campaign against her was facilitated, in part, by Giuliani, and his two associates, the latter of whom were recently arrested on charges of campaign finance violations. She went on to say she didn’t know the exact motives for Trump’s personal lawyer’s attack on her, but she said she thought it had something to do with the anti-corruption actions she helped facilitate in the country that harmed “personal financial ambitions.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch (C) is surrounded by lawyers, aides and journalists as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.
  Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Yuvanovitch went on to say that she never had any contact with Hunter Biden nor did she work directly with Burisma, the company for which Biden worked. She said that most of the events she is most likely going to be questioned about happened either before or after her tenure as ambassador.

She then concluded her statement by issuing a scathing indictment against the president and his administration’s actions regarding foreign policy.

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“I must share the deep disappointment and dismay I have felt as these events have unfolded…Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within. State Department leadership, with Congress, needs to take action now to defend this great institution, and its thousands of loyal and effective employees.”

Yuvanovitch’s testimony came about after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was issued a subpoena for documents as well as a list of State Department officials who have been requested for appearance before Congress to give depositions. Although the State Department issued orders not to cooperate with the investigation, Yuvanovitch decided to go through with her testimony.

She was not the only one to ignore the orders. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U., also stated that he would testify next Thursday, per Politico. Sondland, along with former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker — who resigned his position at the State Department before his own testimony last week — were implicated in the Ukrainian scandal via a series of text messages that passed between the two men regarding Trump’s plans to withhold military aid from Ukraine unless the Ukrainian government complied with the president’s demands.