The White House has accidentally sent its talking points on impeachment to Democrats, marking the second time in a matter of weeks that the embattled Trump administration sent its gameplans to its political foes.
As The Week reported, the White House inadvertently sent to Democrats its talking points on Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was reportedly fired as part of Donald Trump’s bid to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden. Yovanovitch testified to House Democrats on Friday in what was reported to be incredibly damaging testimony.
According to The Guardian, Yovanovitch claimed that Trump personally led an effort to oust her and said that his administration has intentionally gutted the State Department. She said that U.S. diplomats once held a “sacred trust with our government” that has been shattered under the president.
“The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good,” she said. “The harm will come when bad actors in countries beyond Ukraine see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system. In such circumstances, the only interests that will be served are those of our strategic adversaries, like Russia, that spread chaos and attack the institutions and norms that the US helped create and which we have benefited from for the last 75 years.”
The White House was expected to go on the offensive against Yovanovitch, who was one of the first members of the Trump administration to turn and speak to Democrats as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry. The information shared on Friday unveils the specific strategy, showing that the White House plans to claim that Democrats were conducting a dangerous interview by speaking to Yovanovitch without State Department lawyers present. The talking points also suggested that these lawyers would need to inform Yovanovitch on what is privileged and not.
That appears to follow a White House strategy to restrict almost any information from reaching Democrats by making sweeping claims of executive privilege. Trump’s administration has come under sharp criticism for this approach, as legal experts say that the White House has taken this privilege further than it had ever been applied before.
This is now the second time in two weeks that the White House has accidentally shared impeachment-related talking points with Democrats, having shared its initial approach to defending Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president back in late September.