Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House Intelligence Committee investigators that she was told that if she wanted to keep her job, she should consider praising President Trump on Twitter.
Yovanovitch, who was recalled by Trump last May, detailed an exchange she had with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in which she said Sondland told her, “You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the president and that all these are lies and everything else,” Yovanovitch testified.
“It was advice that I did not see how I could implement in my role as an ambassador,” Yovanovitch added.
When asked during her deposition whether Sondland had actually said “support President Trump,” or something to that effect, Yovanovitch clarified her answer.
“Yes. I mean, he may not have used the words ‘support President Trump,’ but he said: You know the president. Well, maybe you don’t know him personally, but you know, you know, the sorts of things that he likes. You know, go out there battling aggressively and, you know, praise him or support him,” Yovanovitch testified.
A career diplomat who was originally named an ambassador by President George W. Bush — she was posted to Ukraine in 2018 by Trump — Yovanovitch described a systematic smear campaign led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in an attempt to oust her from her post. She testified that after he met with Giuliani, Yuri Lutsenko, the prosecutor general of Ukraine, began spreading “falsehoods” about her.
Giuliani believed that Yovanovitch was blocking the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The House Intelligence Committee is gathering evidence that it may use to impeach Trump over the pressure he exerted on Kiev’s government to investigate Biden.
Yovanovitch’s testimony will likely be used by Democrats as evidence that the Trump administration had hatched its plan to procure an investigation long before Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In May, Yovanovitch testified, she was still unclear why she was being removed.
“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,” Yovanovitch testified. “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.”
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