Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich spoke with congressional impeachment investigators last week, when she made some shocking allegations about Donald Trump. During her deposition on October 11, she told investigators that she was told to tweet support or praise for the president if she wanted to save her job, according to The Daily Beast.
A transcript of Yovanovich’s behind-closed-door conversations, which lasted over nine hours with impeachment investigators, was released on Monday as the probe moves into its more public phase. The House posted transcripts of multiple conversations on their website. Her testimony has been a key element in Democrats’ attempts to investigate the president’s alleged corruption.
Yovanovich left Ukraine in May, months before she was scheduled to leave, after she came under attack by right-wing media sources. It was alleged that she wasn’t supportive of the president, and Giuliani and his associates allegedly saw her as an obstacle to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Trump’s opponents, including Joe Biden and his son Hunter. At the time, Democrats expressed concern about her leaving.
Now, the former ambassador has revealed that she felt pressure from within the State Department, and in particular Mike Pompeo, to be removed, She claims this pressure came down from Trump. At one point, according to a memo of his July 25 phone call with Zelensky, Trump referred to her as “bad news.”
When you look at what Democrats in Congress have accomplished compared to President @realDonaldTrump in just the past 2 weeks, it makes total sense why they bet it all on the impeachment hoax. pic.twitter.com/hc7k8fFjgQ— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 31, 2019
Yovanovich reportedly came under scrutiny within the administration after she attempted to contact State Department officials about concerns that she had with Giuliani and his team. She spoke with Undersecretary of State David Hale and asked him to issue a statement saying that she had the full confidence of the president. Hale agreed to speak to Pompeo, but her request went unanswered. She also said that Hale reached out to Fox News to discuss their negative coverage of the former ambassador.
“What I was told by Phil Reeker was that the Secretary or perhaps somebody around him was going to place a call to Mr. Hannity on Fox News to say, ‘You know, what is going on?'” she said in her interview. “‘I mean, do you have proof of these kinds of allegations or not? And if you have proof, you know, tell me, and if not, stop.’ And I understand that that call was made. I don’t know whether it was the Secretary or somebody else in his inner circle. And for a time, you know, things kind of simmered down.”
It was around this time that she was directed by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, to tweet her support of the president in order to secure her position. She said that doing so wouldn’t be ethical and refused.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in his interactions with Ukraine and has called the impeachment investigation a “hoax” perpetrated by Democrats meant to discredit him.